New Border Technology Trials Supported by British Travellers
More than Half of British Travellers Support New Technology Trials at the Borders to Drive Security and Efficiency
19 July 2012 - A new survey finds that the majority of British travellers support the introduction of new technology that delivers greater security and efficiency at the UK's borders.
The study of more than 2,000 British adults,carried out by online polling firm, YouGov for SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, finds that nearly two-thirds (64%) of British overseas travellers would support the current strict checks at border checking points being enhanced by technology that analyses each passenger by the potential risk they present, if this led to an overall reduction in queues and enhanced security.
The survey also reveals that just 9% of these travellers would oppose trials running at Britain's airports of new technology that assesses the potential level of risk posed by each individual and imposes the appropriate level of security checks based on this risk.
Backing for this proposition grows with age. In the 25 to 34 age category, just 41% said they would support trials ofenhanced technology being used at border checking points, with 15% opposing. Among those 55 and over, 69% said they would support the trials with just 5% opposing.
Joanne Taylor, director,public security at SAS, comments, "the survey demonstrates that the British public are open to the authorities exploring an alternative to existing blanket checks. These checks, where all passengers are subject to the same rigorous procedures,have resulted in long delays and have not made us any more efficient at identifying illegal immigrants or high-risk individuals.
"In contrast, risk profiling, which uses intelligence, data analytics and behavioural modelling to assess the risk individuals pose can actually significantly enhance protection, cutting queues while detecting more high-risk individuals coming into the UK," adds Taylor. "This is what we saw in last year's borders pilot immigration scheme, which despite the negative publicity, was successful in its primary objective of detecting more high-risk individuals trying to enter the country illegally from Europe."
With the current stringent blanket tests in place, queue times at Britain's border crossing points remain an issue for many. More than a quarter (29%) of British adults travelling outside the UK claimed to find their most recent experience of queuing at border control frustrating. Only 40% of respondents said they queued for 15 minutes or less the last time they passed through the UK's border control, with 17% queuing for more than 30 minutes.
"Throughout 2012, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics a key focus, the eyes of the world will be on the UK. Long queues at the borders have the potential to cause the country even more serious embarrassment than usual this year," says Taylor.
Her views are supported by the survey results which indicate that more than half (52%) of all British adults who travelled outside the UK felt that long queues at Britain's airports were likely to have a negative impact on visitors' perception of the UK as a whole - with 15% of all British adults feeling that they would have a very negative impact.
Possibly because of their proximity to the upcoming Games, 60% of Londoners felt that the impact would be negative compared to just 46% of people from Wales. Age once again appeared to be a factor here with the older generation seemingly more concerned about the effect long queues at border control have on "brand UK" than the young. Just 43% of 25-34 year-olds said the impact was likely to be negative compared to 55% of the 55 and overs.
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