UK & World News
Heathrow Border Staff Training Questioned
The Border Agency has been accused of allowing terror suspects on the Home Office watch list to enter the UK in the run-up to the Olympics.
A senior border officer has told The Observer newspaper that inexperienced recruits brought in from other departments and used to shorten lengthy queues are failing to carry out necessary security checks at passport control.
Speaking anonymously, the official said he was personally aware that three terror suspects, all registered on the Home Office watch list, had been waved through by staff on his shift since the start of July.
He told the paper: "It's all new faces. The rest of the staff, I have no idea where they have come from, how long they are here for, what their background is.
"These are people who have been forced by their own department to come here."
The crisis comes after the security firm G4S announced it could not provide enough security guards for the London Olympics.
The Government has had to call up 3,500 troops to meet the shortfall.
In The Observer article, the whistle-blower adds: " How many other misses have occurred?
"The missing of counterterrorism 'hits' is a huge thing but new recruits are not getting enough time to be taught."
His comments follow a report on Thursday into border staff being used at Heathrow airport for the Olympics.
John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, concluded staff with only basic training and little immigration experience were being used.
Mr Vine said some staff "remained concerned about the potential risks of employing staff on the immigration control who had received only basic training and who had no immigration background/experience."
However the Border Force insisted Mr Vine's report showed that the situation was improving.
In a statement it said: "An independent inspection published last week concluded that all staff were fully aware of the checks they needed to conduct and that all checks were being completed.
"It also acknowledged the positive addition of hundreds of extra staff deployed to meet demand, the creation of a central control room to manage resources and ongoing recruitment of more border officers.
"All contingency staff deployed to the border are fully trained and supported by experienced Border Force officers at all times.
"Border Force has already delivered real improvements at Heathrow and is transforming the way it works to deliver improved waiting times and a secure border."