Over 100,000 people have now enrolled in the Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS) - biometric system.
IRIS enables registered passengers to enter the UK without queuing to see an immigration officer at passport control. Instead, individuals enrolled on the scheme are able to walk up to an automated barrier, simply look into a camera and if the system recognises them, enter the UK, leaving immigration officers to concentrate on other priorities.
These latest figures demonstrate the success of the system, which was launched to the public in January 2006.
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said:
“We are significantly toughening Britain’s borders. IRIS recognition barriers combine speed and maximum security to let positively vetted passengers travel faster.
“Soon we will also see uniformed officers with new powers at airports across the UK.”
The biometric technology works by photographing and storing a passenger’s iris patterns in a database, and linking them securely to their passport details and immigration status in the UK, thus ensuring the immigration system remains safe and secure. Only those individuals who meet the enrolment criteria and have had their details authenticated by an immigration officer are able to use the technology. As no two iris patterns are alike, the system will quickly and securely recognise each registered individual when they look into the camera.
This new technology is part of Government plans to strengthen UK borders. It builds on the Home Office’s commitments to use tougher checks abroad, enhance technology at the border, count people in and out of the UK, introduce biometric ID for non-EEA foreign nationals and double the enforcement budget by £100m.