David Hanson – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by David Hanson on 2016-01-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many times the biometric passport chip reading facilities have been deactivated (a) in the UK, (b) at each port and (c) at each airport in each of the last five years.

James Brokenshire

For the period for which figures are available, biometric chip reading facilities were deactivated 7 times in 2013, 3 times in 2014 and 3 times in 2015.

These figures should be considered against the background of the overall volume of transactions which are currently running at over 100 million per year.

Deactivation of the chip reading function by Border Force staff is routinely monitored. The occasions reported above have been thoroughly investigated and none has given rise to concerns about officer integrity. We are also satisfied that there has been no risk to the border as a result. An investigation is ongoing with the system supplier to ascertain whether a technical issue may have caused these incidents.

A further breakdown of locations cannot be given for border and national security reasons.