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June 20, 2007

Government IT: Yes, Again

I do wonder some times whether they've ever even managed to install a PC successfully:

Under the previous immigration system, officials simply swiped passports through a scanner which read a series of encoded letters and numbers.

Now they have to use equipment designed for the new generation of biometric passports with security holograms and computer-embedded data introduced to make forgeries more difficult.

Older documents are still swiped as they were before, but in some cases additional information is tapped into a computer to further verify the identity of the passengers.

"It used to take between three to four seconds to process a passenger," said Mr Tincey. "Now you are looking at eight to 10 seconds, so it has more than doubled.

There's some 200 million passenger movements a year through the UK airports. Ignoring the small propostion that are domestic, that's some 300,000 man hours just there. In the same way that they don't count the time spent sorting rubbish as a cost in recycling, I doubt very much whether that number was included in the cost benefit analysis of the new system.

But far better, to my mind, is this:

On at least one occasion the police threatened to prosecute immigration officials for public order offences because of the overcrowding.

Ooooh, please, please, do. We should be encouraging a sense of responsibility in the securocrats.

June 20, 2007 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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Isn't this part of a plan to encourage regular travellers to sign up for the new biometric "fast track" so as they can bring in ID cards more easily?

Posted by: MARK T | Jun 20, 2007 10:02:16 AM