MP anger over Prestwick Airport 'border check'

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POLICE yesterday defended themselves against accusations they were making routine identity checks on domestic air passengers when they land.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling made the complaint after being told to produce his passport on arrival at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow.

He said this was "utterly and completely unacceptable", adding: "Do we want to end up with border check points at Gretna Green? Of course we need security, but there has to be a balance."

Grayling was among five Conservative MPs asked for ID at the airport on Wednesday.

The Terrorism Act 2000 gives police forces the power to stop anyone for identification checks, which can include showing a passport. Domestic passengers are usually checked for photographic ID before boarding their plane.

Strathclyde Police, which covers Prestwick, said its officers use the legislation "proportionately". A spokeswoman said: "As part of their duties, police require to establish the identity of persons present at or transiting through a port.

"In particular, specific powers are afforded to police examining officers to require production of a passport, or other recognised identity document bearing a photograph."

The Metropolitan Police force, which covers the Heathrow and City airports in London, also uses the powers on domestic passengers.

A Met spokeswoman said: "From time to time, we to stop people and look at their travel documents. It's not that unusual."

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