The £90m snooper army: Government hires private contractor Mitie to carry out 10,000 home visits every day to check if passengers are in quarantine after flying back to UK from overseas

  • Extra manpower will dramatically increase the capacity for daily home visits 
  • Mitie is tasked by Home Office to catch flouters not undergoing quarantine
  • Overseas arrivals must do 10 days mandatory quarantine and get tested 

Priti Patel has stepped up the Government’s crackdown on mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals by hiring a firm to do up to 10,000 house checks per day.

Mitie has been tasked by the Home Office to catch flouters failing to undergo their required period of isolation.  

Their extra manpower will dramatically increase the capacity for daily home visits, which at present number about 1,000 and are carried out by police.   

The new contract awarded to outsourcing giant Mitie allows a total spend of up to £90million.  

Priti Patel has stepped up the Government’s crackdown on mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals by hiring a private firm to do up to 10,000 house checks per day

Mitie has been tasked by the Home Office to catch flouters failing to undergo their required period of isolation

Under tight border rules to insulate from worrying variants and infection spikes in Europe, all overseas arrivals must go into self-isolation for 10 days, which can be shortened by testing negative.

For people arriving from countries on the Department for Transport’s red list, this self-isolation must be done in Government-approved hotels. Fines start at £1,000 and jump to £10,000 for repeated rule-breaking. 

Mitie enforcers will conduct checks on travellers who are required to self-isolate at home, but will not do hotel visits.

A Government source said: ‘The number of operatives will vary depending on the number of visits needed, and the locations of the visits.

‘If appropriate, Mitie staff may visit certain travellers more than once, if they are suspected of breaching their requirement to self-isolate.’ 

Under tight border rules to insulate from worrying variants and infection spikes in Europe, all overseas arrivals must go into self-isolation for 10 days, which can be shortened by testing negative (Heathrow pictured)

Mitie, a London-based professional services firm, does work across Whitehall and has been handed multiple Covid contracts.

The firm currently supplies testing staff, security and cleaners at testing sites across the UK, as well as mobile units.  

Flying out of the UK is currently banned except for exceptional circumstances and rule-breakers face a £5,000 fine.

The earliest foreign holidays could return is May 17 when the Government will use a ‘traffic light’ system to designate countries according to their risk level.

But the appetite for travelling abroad could fade after officials warned passengers face queues of up to six hours at the border.

Chris Garton, chief solutions officer at Heathrow Airport, told MPs that delays are being caused by huge amounts of paperwork and were ‘well in excess of two hours and up to six’.

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