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Inspection report published: An inspection of the Border Force intelligence functions at the Humber ports (June 2022 – November 2022)

Commenting on the publication of the report, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Neal, said:

I welcome the publication of my inspection report on the Border Force intelligence functions at the Humber ports.

Protecting the nation’s borders is arguably the number one function of the state. Critical to this is timely, accurate, and accessible intelligence. To be effective, intelligence must be high-quality, gathered from multiple sources, and developed into intelligence products that are actioned internally and by partners.

Intelligence activity, by its nature, requires joint efforts and collaborative working across agencies. Similarly, inspection of that activity cuts across borders and, to be effective, should be approached in a joint manner. To ensure that I was able to conduct a rich and detailed study, I secured the assistance of His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services for this inspection.

There is much going well in this area, and the creation of a Home Office Intelligence Directorate is a positive development. It requires particular strategic focus to ensure that staff are not diverted to the latest crisis and that senior managers have the time and space to deliver a complex change programme. Provided that this programme is fully implemented, and the new directorate is given the resources and investment required, these efforts will help Border Force achieve its ambition of being an intelligence-led organisation.

I am entirely comfortable with the Home Secretary exercising her statutory right to redact material from this report on national security grounds. I think there is a question for the Home Office to consider how redactions in these sensitive reports are assured and scrutinised for transparency.

The redactions to this report have increased the time taken to publish it. This report is now the 25th (of 26) to be published in my tenure that has failed to meet the eight-week publication commitment made by ministers and the department.


This report was sent to the Home Secretary on 18 January 2023 and makes seven recommendations. The Home Office has fully accepted five recommendations and partially accepted two. I am pleased to see that work is already under way to deliver on one of the recommendations and that work on another has already been completed.

David Neal

Link:, dated May 11, 2023 12:08 pm

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