UK committee claims IRIS money would be better spent on immigration staff

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11 April 2012

The UK Home Affairs Select Committee has criticized the money UK Border Agency's (UKBA) has spent on the IRIS biometric scanning system saying it would have been better used to pay for more immigration staff.

The IRIS system, introduced in 2006, scans registered passenger eyes with a special camera that is then checked against Iris patterns stored in a security database. It was created to help expedite the process of going through UK immigration for frequent air travellers. But now, the scanners are only available in Heathrow and Gatwick airport and enrolment for the scheme has been closed. Also, the scanners are set to be turned off after the 2012 Olympics.

In its report, the Home Affairs Select Committee criticised the cost of the IRIS scheme: "[IRIS'] sole value appears to have been that it provided data for the e-gates. This money could have been better spent on border staff - at least 6