As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, uncertainty is still very much the biggest challenge for those speculating about the impacts of the decision.
The Brexit campaign centred on border control, and the promise that the UK would regain control of her borders, yet as the debates continue, the only certainty that remains is that the impact on border control will be determined by the UK’s position within the European Economic Area, and any decisions made on free movement of people and goods.
With little more than a year to go, the challenges that may be faced need to be addressed now, if major delays or flight cancellations are to be avoided.
Although a ‘business as usual’ approach is being discussed, it is impossible to judge the true impact until firm decisions have been made. Speculation states that the following additional measures and challenges may appear:
- Additional clearance approval – this is likely to occur for UK citizens travelling throughout the EU
- Visa completion – a likely addition for citizens on both sides of the border
- Ground delays – these will be likely, as additional border control clearance processes are carried out
- Longer queues – these are inevitable, at least during the early stages, as pressure increases on border control personnel
- Increased security checks on cargo and goods – the removal of tariff-free trade agreements will inevitably increase the time spent on checks. Currently, paperwork checks are seamless and minimal under the EU guidelines
- Longer waiting times for cargo trucks – an inevitable by-product of additional security and paperwork checks. Current infrastructure could struggle with additional pressure
- Rising costs – again, inevitably, additional resources, time and regulatory approval will drive up the cost of moving goods and passengers around the UK and the EU
Although these challenges could pose major problems for the countries on either side of the UK border, the introduction of advanced technology and solutions could help to minimise the impact of additional security measures. The latest advancements and applications are designed to maintain maximum efficiency, while ensuring compliance at regulatory level.
There is little doubt that the aviation industry, travellers and manufacturers will feel the initial effects of Brexit, taking a hit to infrastructural demand. It remains to be seen whether decisions can be made quickly to enable operators to put the solutions in place in time.
The Republic of Maldives, a popular tourist destination, has announced the installation of an upgraded border control system to improve passenger processing standards.
The new systems include a biometric passport registration facility, fingerprint identification system and automatic gates (eGates) to allow passengers to pass through border control at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport using their ePassports to achieve automatic clearance through immigration.
Delivered by Dermalog, a German biometrics company, the new systems are now in operation.
Biometric border control systems are becoming increasingly necessary across the world, when terror threats are at their worst. Other providers of ePassports and fingerprint recognition systems also deliver facial recognition applications to enable another layer of border security.
Malta’s Police Force’s Immigration Unit has completed five projects to enhance border security measures with the help of co-funding from European Border Funds.
The projects include the procurement of additional radios and biometric devices to assist in communications and comparison of passenger data with international no-fly lists. The new technology is designed to halt the passage of illegal residents, with an on-the-spot ability to screen information.
Furthermore, modernisation of the border control system has been focussed upon, with health and safety upgrades made, in addition to an upgrade of equipment.
Finally, Malta has introduced a system for the collection of Advance Passenger Information to strengthen border security. Many countries throughout the world are enhancing border control measures and providers are using the latest technological advancements to introduce stronger systems including eBorders technology.
Five airports across India have implemented an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) in a bid to bring a halt to the smuggling problem by keeping track of ‘suspicious’ passengers.
Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports now have fully operational APIS implementation, effectively beginning the creation of the electronic database of passengers, crew and airline personnel.
APIS was given its first outing in India last year at Indira Ghandi International Airport and has now become more widespread following the success of the system there. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) made the decision, under the Finance Ministry, to extend the implementation to other airports in India after arrests were made and passengers apprehended.
Customs officials released a statement earlier this week, “So far the system has been generating important inputs and its leads have resulted in apprehension of passengers trying to smuggle in gold and other banned items.”
According to the statement, there have been 399 cases of gold smuggling reported at Mumbai International airport, 265 at Chennai and 171 at Delhi airports. There have been 90 cases of gold smuggling reported at Kolkata International airport, 36 at Hyderabad and 34 at Bengaluru airports during the same period.
It is hoped that the success of APIS demonstrated at Indira Ghandi International will continue at the other locations.
Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) this month hosted Intersec 2014, with emaratech, the technology and management consulting company owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, taking centre stage with its innovative and forward looking border control solutions dubbed “Intelligent Travelling.” Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board member of emaratech explained that the company had partnered with SRI to produce a suite of technologies, “demonstrating robust security screening and innovative border control solutions.”
IRIS on the move technology (IOM) offers the potential to deal with increasing passenger numbers; reducing both the time it takes to pass through border control and the solving the problems associated with attempting to identify passengers in a busy or limited environment. Offering non-contact technology, the simple walk-through design of the IOM PassPort SL is able to capture both dual-iris and facial images, without a requirement for the passenger to stop.
Similar benefits can be readily applied to vehicle access points with the IOM PassThru™Drive-up Iris Recognition System, which can replace RFID cards, and can link drivers immediately to their known identity, with the added advantage of being able to record events. In fact emaratech believe the system will become increasingly popular for identification management in many high-traffic environments, including general transportation, employee access and public events.