Statewatch News online: UK takes lead on Mobile Detection Unit for EU

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EU: UK setting up "Mobile Detection Unit" for external border controls
- "cutting-edge technology" includes "heart beat detectors" to find migrants

Within the next six month the UK will make available to other EU states a "Mobile Detection Unit" using "cutting-edge technology" to combat "clandestine immigration" which has "security implications regarding potential terrorist threats". The Unit, a so-called "centre of excellence in the field of search and detection technology", will be based at Dover and is being designed to move quickly to the "vulnerable points" where there is a "threat to the integrity of the external EU frontier".

The UK report, to the EU's Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA), says that: "we have developed a strategic layered deployment of a number of specific technologies to detect illegal immigrants in vehicles". It says that the manual searching of vehicles is no longer effective and that the Unit will provide four different means of detecting human beings. These are:

"Carbon dioxide detectors, these identify levels of carbon dioxide in the load space of a vehicle through the employment of a probe inserted through the side covering.

Heart beat detectors, these employ seismic technology to detect minute movement in a vehicle caused by heartbeats.

X/gamma ray scanners, these produce high quality images and can be used on all types of vehicle to search for clandestine entrants and contraband.

Passive Millimetric Wave Imaging, this equipment uses a type of thermal imaging system and is capable of detecting clandestine entrants in soft-sided vehicles while they are in motion"

The mobile Unit would respond to: "needs identified by intelligence colleagues" and would target the five main routes into the EU:

"Baltic Route: Moscow-Baltic States-Poland-Czech Republic-Austria/Germany

Central Route: Ukraine-Poland/Slovakia/Hungary/Czech Republic-Austria/Germany

Eastern Mediterranean Route: Middle East - Greece/Italy

North African Route: North Africa - Spain/Italy

Balkan Route: Turkey - Balkan States - Italy/Austria"

Centre of excellence at Dover - Mobile Detection Unit", doc number 11994/02 (13.9.02)

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