PCS union warns that plans to merge departments in security shake-up are borderline madness

Government plans to unite immigration, customs and visa checks in a new UK Border Agency will lead to confusion, the main Civil Service union has warned.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said the move, which would involve the transfer of staff in HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), UK Visas and the Border and Immigration Agency into a the new Home Office, was “flawed” and based on a rushed evaluation of pilot schemes.

The Home Office claims that by integrating the work of the three bodies, the UK Border Agency would be able to strengthen the UK’s security by weeding out potential terrorists and criminals.

But the union highlighted problems with the pilot schemes, including inadequate staff training and lack of staff numbers. It also warned that the change would lead to a dilution of skills and do little to strengthen security at the UK’s borders.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “We are yet to be convinced that these proposals, based on flawed pilot schemes, will achieve the government’s aims of strengthening the UK’s borders.

“We fear they are recipe for border confusion, with the new agency reporting to two different departments, and have serious concerns that the government’s proposals are an expensive re-badging exercise that will lead to a dilution of skills and specialist knowledge.”

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