MPs call for relaxation of security at airports
RISK-based checks at the UK’s borders should be brought back to help ease airport queues, MPs said today.
A pilot scheme, scrapped in the wake of last year’s row over the unauthorised relaxation of security checks, should be brought back and could help process large groups of low-risk schoolchildren through immigration much more quickly, a report said.
But the Commons home affairs select committee warned that risk-based checks must not be allowed to become queue-based checks, where stringent security measures are dropped simply to ease long waiting times.
It also called for the introduction of so-called smart zones, where passengers on low-risk routes are screened before they arrive on the basis of information provided by carriers, to be brought forward from December this year.
The MPs warned that some air carriers were “resigning themselves to reducing their revenue because the Border Force does not have the capacity to provide them with an adequate service”.
“Any impact on the capacity of goods and passengers to enter the country could have implications for the wider economy, not just the travel industry,” the MPs said.
“It is imperative that the problems are resolved before more companies find themselves facing the same choice.”
They went on: “We believe that it is perfectly possible to maintain robust border controls while operating a risk-based model.
“The Home Secretary [Theresa May] should start by immediately reintroducing the pilot she suspended in November 2011.”
Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the committee, said: “Border Force needs to go for gold.
“It must start taking the actions necessary to ensure passengers clear immigration in a timely manner and that queues are measured accurately.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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