Call for relaxation of security checks to trim 'unacceptable' queues

Call for relaxation of security checks to trim 'unacceptable' queues

Stringent airport security checks should be relaxed to trim “unacceptable” queues of up to three hours.

The Home Affairs Select Committee warned that the poor performance of immigration officials is damaging to the travel industry and the “ordeal” of getting into the UK for visitors could harm the wider economy.

The cross-party group called on Border Force to measure waiting times more accurately and to introduce signs warning passengers how long they will have to wait to get through arrivals halls.

The committee raised fears that queues at major airports such as Heathrow could lengthen again after the Olympics, as extra staff leave and the normal workforce is allowed to take holiday.

The report said Border Force is also affecting travel firms including Eurotunnel and Thomson Holidays, because of the extra time it takes them to check passengers and additional staff needed to manage queues.

The study also proposed the introduction of “smart zones”, where passengers are screened before arrival in Britain so that any suspicious individuals can be picked out.

Information boards telling passengers how long they will have to wait are already in use at Heathrow Terminal 4 and the committee said they should be introduced at all major ports to be “courteous” to passengers.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz told the Daily Telegraph: “I am very pleased to see that the minister for immigration has kept his promise to the committee that during the Olympics every kiosk at airports in the South East would be manned.

“However, as the Olympics finish international students will begin to arrive. We must ensure that the situation does not revert back to that witnessed prior to the Olympics.

“The Home Office must immediately reinstate the risk-based pilot for entry checks that was abandoned by the Home Secretary last November.”

The trial allowed Border Force officials to waive checks against a database of suspects for children travelling with their parents or on school trips, while details in the biometric chip of Europeans’ passports could be overlooked for passengers and journeys deemed safe.

Comments

This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.

More in News