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Home Office develops new borders data capability


The Home Office has developed a new capability to collect and analyse a wide range of data relevant to its border operations.

Named the Border Risking and Targeting Capability (BRTC), it has now come into use and its development team is beginning to work with subject matter experts from the Border Force and user researchers on evidence for product iterations.

Andy Gregory, deputy director data services and analytics at the Home Office, said in a blogpost that the BRTC will support efforts to combat fraud, crime and illegal immigration, and that it could provide savings of up to £100 million over the next 10 years.

“Developing this new capability means we can stop using several legacy systems which cost millions of pounds to maintain and are less efficient to run,” he said.

The BRTC ingests large volumes of data from border, law enforcement and international sources through streams and APIs. It then analyses, structures and matches the data to give Border Force offices information to detect patterns and generate intelligence.

Much of the processing is automated and officers have their own analytics dashboards to perform searches and see the rules that underly the analysis.

Associations and relationships

The data is structured using the POLE (person, object, location, event) model, which is standard for all Home Office analytics. A BRTC matching and searching capability works on the standardised data to find links, combine similar records to reduce duplication and understand associations. This then makes it possible for officers to identify hidden relationships in the data.

Gregory said all the data is held securely and processed in line with human rights and privacy legislation.

He added that the programme is part of the department’s effort to ensure transformation begins with data rather than technology.

“We are starting to assess more projects on their use of data as part of our new Home Office assurance model,” he said. “We are working to ensure our users can quickly provide and access high quality data to inform our policy decisions, secure the country and monitor our performance.”

Image from iStock, Livinus

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