UK & World News
Airports May See Four-Hour Olympic Queues
People could be queuing at airports for up to four hours during the London Olympics, the chief of the UK Border Force has admitted.
UKBA director general Brian Moore insists staffing levels should be up to dealing with the surge in arrivals but warns he cannot rule out delays.
It comes after passengers at Heathrow Airport last month were forced to wait for hours before going through passport control.
The delays sparked concern about the world's largest international airport's ability to cope with the influx of visitors during the Olympics this summer.
The Olympic torch is already on its tour of the UK ahead of the start of the Games on July 27 after it was flown in from Greece last week.
Thousands of officials working at the Games and competitors will be fast-tracked through immigration at Heathrow, with hundreds of extra UKBA staff brought in to speed up the process.
Mr Moore told MPs when pressed about the recent problems that he was satisfied staffing levels would be able to cope but he stopped short of guaranteeing delays would be eradicated.
"I do not anticipate seeing large queues of two, three and four hours because of the work we are doing to move our resources, However there will always be circumstances beyond our control," he said.
He repeatedly declined to tell the Commons home affairs committee what he personally considered a "reasonable" wait, but said he believed the public generally accepted a 25-minute target.
Mr Moore admitted using resources flexibly was "sometimes not a strength of the Border Force" but said action was being taken to avoid a repeat of the recent delays.
He was also forced to deny that contingency staff being drafted in to man border posts over the summer were receiving less training than permanent workers.
The five or six-day procedure is the same as the period within a 15-week training course that relates to the particular role they will be performing, he told MPs.
Mr Moore, who was previously Wiltshire Police chief constable, was seconded to take over the UKBA in March following the row over Brodie Clark and lax border security.
:: Labour leader Ed Miliband has spoken out against the possibility of industrial action during the Olympics after London bus drivers were balloted over a potential strike.
Mr Miliband said public sector workers in the capital may face "extra strain" when the Games are happening but stressed that avoiding disruption was "really important".
what do you think?
1 rule for the 'people you know' comes to mind. A fiasco
This is disgraceful. Much of it is made worse than it should be as everyone is given the same exhaustive check - all for politically correct reasons. At Gatwick recently, white people were taken out of the queue for detailed questioning so that non-whites would not feel discriminated against. As one sensible police officer commented about a similar problem elsewhere, 'you wouldn't stop BMWs if you were looking for a getaway car that was a Mercedes'.
Lets keep calm about this...has anyone been to America recently you get to stand in lovely queues with a very unhappy immagration offical waiting to not greet you to the good old US of A Its a given that the airports will be very busy and as long as most of the desks are open you have to wait your turn..this is what we get for wanting a safer world and this is why wars are fought for our freedoms or at least that was what we have been left to beleive with Terrorists and the like lurking in every corner
WELCOME TO ENGLAND, LAND OF THE FIASCO!!
Arrived back from Miami into Terminal 5 on Sunday with my mum, who needs wheelchair assistance as she can't walk long distances. 5 other people on the same flight also needed assistance. What did we get? ONE man with ONE wheelchair for 6 people. It took an hour to get everyone off the plane and then we were all herded into a 'holding area' until they finally brought some electric buggies to take us where we need to go. People coming for the Olympics are going to have a nightmare at that rate.....
it begins .......
" Using resources flexibly was sometimes not a strength of the Border Force " . In english this means " we're crap at this job ".
Why should we open our door to everybody just because it's the Olympics...???
It's not really a question of whether we 'open the door' or not, nor should we let suspicious travellers go un-checked. It's simply down to a lack of planning and organising enough staff to cope with the expected influx. That is the responsibility of our inept Home Sec. Theresa May - AGAIN!!!
Harriett Mavis Goodey
I don't care how long I have to wait when safety checks are being made. My daughter came back from America 2/52,she said the waits were 2/3 hours and very thorough. You can't blame them. Wish our border controls were as good.
This is Britain - what do you expect to get - efficiency ?
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why should officials and competitors be fast tracked. I think that it is discrimination
I think we've missed a trick here................. We should have made queuing and Olympic event. We'd have surely got Gold as we routinely wait patiently in queues for hours. Post office, petrol pumps, supermarket, bus train etc.