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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 15:16 GMT
Tories unveil border police plans
David Cameron
Tory leader David Cameron will also say that ID cards are a bad idea
The Conservatives have appointed the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens to lead a working group on creating a border police force.

They would use money saved from scrapping planned identity cards, as well as savings in the Home Office budget, to fund the plans.

Tory leader David Cameron said that "porous" borders have worsened the UK's social problems.

However, Labour have attacked the policy plans as "posture politics".

In a speech delivered on Monday, Mr Cameron said: "Right now, our society is not properly defended against the drug dealers, people smugglers, gun importers and terrorists who find it all too easy to bypass the current system.

"No single organisation is responsible for performing this vital task.

"Instead we have at least six separate agencies, including Revenue and Customs, the Immigration Service, the security services, harbour police, Soca (Serious and Organised Crime Agency), and the Metropolitan Police."

Communication breakdown

Mr Cameron said all of these bodies have dedicated staff, but they report through different organisations and are accountable to different cabinet ministers.

Consequently, Mr Cameron argued, this means that these bodies often do not communicate effectively with each other and lack overall co-ordination.

He renewed his criticisms of the government's planned identity cards scheme.

Mr Cameron said: "The government's big idea to try to deal with these problems is ID cards but this demonstrates that their priorities are completely wrong.

"They would waste up to 20 billion without performing one of the most basic tasks of all - securing our borders. In short, ID cards are a bad idea."

Mr Cameron made his remarks in a visit to a police station in east London.

'Defenceless'

The proposed new organisation, which could comprise about 10,000 people, would be part of Soca and focus on preventing and detecting illegal immigration, stopping terror suspects getting into the UK and cutting people smuggling.

The Tory leader said he has growing support for the idea from the Association of Chief Police Officers and Scotland Yard Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair.

For Labour, immigration minister Liam Byrne said the plans "are posture politics backed up by fantasy finances".

He said: "His plans to shut down Britain's ID infrastructure will prevent us stopping illegal journeys and tackling illegal jobs. His plans will render this country defenceless against illegal immigration."




SEE ALSO
Border police planned by Tories
29 Mar 05 |  UK Politics
Call for anti-terror border force
01 Dec 02 |  Politics
Met's chief backs identity cards
02 Apr 04 |  UK Politics

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