Tech without borders?

July 24, 2012, 3:43 PM GMT+0

56% Brit overseas travellers would support new technology at UK border amid long queue fears

The majority of British overseas travellers would support the introduction of new technology primarily aimed at delivering greater security and efficiency at the UK’s borders, our poll of 2,186 British adults for business analytics software firm SAS shows.

  • The findings reveal that nearly two-thirds (64%) of British overseas travellers would support the addition of technology that would ostensibly aim to analyse each passenger for the potential risk they present, if it were shown to lead to an overall reduction in queues and enhanced security
  • 56% of travellers would support introducing trials at Britain’s airports of new technology that would aim to assess the potential level of risk posed by each individual and impose the appropriate level of security checks based on this risk
  • Just 9% said they would oppose this kind of trial

A very British problem?

Queue times at Britain’s border crossing points – which usually have a uniform security process for everyone ‒ 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
  • 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
  • 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

“Throughout 2012 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 Joanne Taylor, director, public security at SAS.

Backing for the introduction of 'case-by-case' technology grows with age.

  • In the 25 to 34 age category, just 41% said they would support trials of added 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.

Taylor continues that "the survey demonstrates that the British public are open to the authorities exploring an alternative to existing blanket checks. These checks, in which 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.

See the survey details and full results here