Whistle blowers claim untrained UK immigration staff made mistakes
14 August 2012
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Whistle blowers have claimed that extra staff deployed by the UK Border Force during the London Olympic Games were responsible for a series of potentially serious errors. 500 extra staff were deployed during the Olympics to help full-time staff cope with high passenger volumes but insiders say that they had not been adequately trained.
The decision to deploy the extra immigration staff was taken in order to prevent a repeat of the chaos at Heathrow Airport in July 2012 when passengers had to wait for over two hours to have their passports checked.
One whistle blower has alleged that on one occasion an Iranian citizen was allowed to enter the country using the channel reserved for EU citizens. It is also claimed that hundreds of travellers from countries where tuberculosis is endemic were not made to undergo the required medical checks. In another incident, a 12-year old child was allowed into the country without the necessary checks being performed. Normally, immigration staff would be expected to check that arrangements had been made to meet the child.
However, a UK Border Force spokesman insisted that the extra staff had performed well. He said that an independent inspection carried out in July 2012 had found that all UK immigration staff were fully aware of the checks that they were required to carry out and that those checks were being performed. He added that the report had found that the temporary staff had had a positive impact on performance. 'All contingency staff deployed on the border are fully trained and supported by experience Border Force officers at all times,' he said.
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