The move will prompt renewed claims that John Reid is adopting a hard-line approach to law and order and immigration issues. Home Office sources have confirmed that Reid plans to double the amount spent on immigration control to £180m in order to cut the number of unfounded asylum claims and illegal immigrants. The uniformed force, which will not be established as a new agency, will be tasked with tackling those who seek to enter the UK - but will prompt criticism from asylum groups.
Reid said the number of people seeking asylum in Britain had already fallen by 72 percent. He also said that applications for asylum were being processed quicker and that more failed asylum seekers were being removed from the UK. But vowing fresh action, he conceded that certain procedures used by the Home Office are not 'fit for purpose'. "We're now deporting more failed asylum seekers than are coming to this country," he said. "But we need to do more and I intend to do more because what I want to do is to strengthen the resources for our border enforcement. "We need a better, more forceful, more effective, more visible border enforcement."
Ministers claim the move is supported by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Failure. The shift comes at a time when the Home Office is under intense scrutiny and criticism - and just as MPs published a report condemning the current enforcement measures at borders as inadequate. The Home Office is also criticized for failing to put in place a workable system to remove asylum applicants whose claims have been rejected. The Commons home affairs select committee slammed the poor quality of decisions in some cases, but also the inability to remove those whose cases have been rejected.
Reid is also being urged to take fresh action to halt the tide of illegal workers entering the UK - many coming from countries such as Romania and Turkey. "Those who can come to this country, who want to contribute as well as take something from it should be welcomed," added Reid on Sunday. "But those who want to come in and take everything and give nothing and do it illegally, we don't want them here. And people are right to say that that should stop."
Chairman of the home affairs committee John Denham called for a focus on delivery. "The real weakness at the moment is that there is no way of ensuring that when somebody is told that they should leave the country, that their departure follows very quickly," he said. "John Reid's got the money - he now needs to spend it at the right part of the system, that is as soon as people lose the right to be in the country."