Note: At a time when the Home Secretary, Priti Patel has been stalling to publish a report by the Government’s own ICIBI David Neal, she had sought an ‘independent review’ that would fully support the intensification of this hostile environment. #ICIBI
20 July 2022: Gov.uk: Independent review of Border Force by Alexander Downer, commissioned by The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Alexander Downing’s report is here – note the language he uses, and his recommendations that will intensify the hostile environment, for example:
10.3 Third country processing should be fully implemented People that have entered the UK should be moved to a third country rapidly for assessment under the UN Convention and other relevant legislation. The rapid movement of people that have entered the UK illegally to a third country reduces the risk of the removal process being frustrated. The eligibility for removal should embrace all cohorts of people who enter the UK illegally.
The lessons from Australia’s experience on this issue suggest that the pace with which people are moved, along with avoiding a running commentary on numbers, is useful in achieving success. The discussion of numbers at various stages of operational implementation will potentially look like the odds are still in favour of attempting dangerous, illegal migration journeys and the deterrent effect is lost.
20 July 2022: Independent: Border Force reform planned as report finds ‘suboptimal performance’
An independent review of the agency was commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Plans have been announced to overhaul Border Force as an independent review found it is performing at a “suboptimal level” and stretching its resources in an “unsustainable and highly inefficient way”.
The independent review, commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel to see how well it may respond to future challenges, named a range of issues with the organisation.
Despite a “dedicated, capable workforce”, the agency seems to be “less than the sum of its parts with significant systemic challenges”, the report found.
18 February 2022: Guardian: Alexander Downer is the wrong choice to review the UK’s border force – Australia’s record is nothing to emulate
Downer’s appointment is clearly a political move aimed at boosting Boris Johnson’s government’s chances of re-election
When it comes to harsh border policies, Australia has become an unexpected and unfortunate role model. And so it was again this week, when former Australian foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer was appointed to lead the review of the UK’s border force.
To be clear, this is a political move aimed at boosting Boris Johnson’s government’s chances of re-election. The fanfare with which the appointment was announced seems to indicate that the government believes that being seen to emulate Australia will give it a boost at the polls.
But, as they say, it takes two to tango. While the UK wants to copy, Australian politicians have been trying to export Australia’s push-back and offshore processing policies for years to validate their own harsh stance. Britain has been one of the main targets of such efforts, which now seem to finally be paying off with Downer’s appointment.