UK immigration staff cut by 10%

01 May 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The number of UK immigration staff working for the border force has been cut by ten per cent since 2010.

This is according to leaked data obtained by the Labour Party, which found that around 880 officers have been cut already, while a further 1,550 officer posts could go by 2014-15.

The news comes amid chaos at Heathrow Airport, where UK immigration queues have reached unacceptable levels over recent days, with visitors forced to wait over an hour on some occasions.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson learnt that even prime minister David Cameron has become involved after meeting home secretary Theresa May for an update. Mr Cameron reportedly said "we've got to get a grip on this".

Immigration minister Damian Green has visited Terminal 3 at Heathrow to give his angle on the issue. He acknowledged that the problem is not just about staffing numbers and noted that the UK Border Force needs to be more flexible if it is to be effective.

Mr Green explained that a new central control room is to be established at Heathrow to allow teams of border staff to be moved between terminals as demand requires. The plan would come into action this month, but by the Olympic Games in July, Mr Green claims that all border control desks will be fully manned.