Congestion issues could see UK immigration checks wavered

25 Apr 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration checks at busy airports could be wavered if queues and congestion become unmanageable.

Indications from the Home Office suggest that not all passengers arriving at the main British airports – namely Gatwick and Heathrow – will be subject to full passport checks in the future.

The news comes after the Brodie Clark affair of last year, which saw the head of the UK Border Force resign in the face of allegations from home secretary, Theresa May, regarding his 'risk-based' approach to selective passport checks.

Now, it appears that this could become the norm if the queues seen in airports can't be tackled with extra staff or alternative forms of streamlining.

A Border Force spokesman told the Guardian earlier this week (April 23rd): “We have never ruled out a risk-based approach.

“What we need is clear evidence that it works. And it was made impossible to evaluate with the unauthorised relaxation of the checks in last year's pilot. We will always put security first, and during the Olympics we will be providing the staff needed to carry out full checks.”

Airlines are already putting pressure on the home secretary to improve the UK immigration services at airports or face “gridlock” during the Olympics. These worries have prompted further economic concern that tourists and other visitors during the Games will be put off from doing business with the UK if they have a negative experience of the country this summer.