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UK border database on target and budget, says Home Office

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Half of all journeys in and out of the UK are now being centrally recorded and analysed by the £1.2bn e-Borders scheme, the government estmates.

The Home Office yesterday said the system is currently gathering data on between 45 and 50 per cent of people crossing the border.

e-Borders aims to count every person in and out of the country by March 2014. By the end of this year travel operators will report 95 per cent of journeys to e-Borders' Manchester hub, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said.

The remaining five per cent of the 100 million annual border crossings, comprising private aircraft and small boats, will be covered by March 2014, he added.

So far e-Borders has suffered a delay to the opening of the Manchester centre, caused by problems training "match analysts", who will issue alerts to border guards when the system matches passengers' details to crime, terrorism and immigration watchlists.

The Home Office said the delay had no impact on the overall scheme however, because another analysis centre was already operational.

Woolas also claimed that e-Borders is currently on target to be completed on budget, which runs until 2017.

Last year Woolas dismissed claims by Eurostar and ferry operators that the way the system requires data on passengers from continental Europe before they travel was illegal. Passengers who refuse to give details before their journey would still be allowed to enter the UK, he said. ®

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