ID scans to secure UK borders by 2008
June 28, 2007
Hi-tech scanners that read biometric passports will be installed in all major British airports by the end of the year, in line with government plans.
Lin Homer, chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency, was this week reported as signalling the government would not slow the roll out of the technology.
The decision is worrying airlines carriers, which already face passenger complaints over existing security checks, amid predictions of a downturn, particularly for no-frills carriers.
They are concerned that major airports such as Heathrow will have the same experience of the new technology as Stansted, where it has been blamed for delays lasting over an hour.
A spokesman for the Airport Operators Association told The Daily Telegraph: We have met the government and have it made clear that we need more front line immigration staff.
But Ms Homer reportedly made no apology for having to scrutinise persons new to the UK, said delays were down to flights being bunched, and insisted staff numbers had increased.
Her agencys brief for 2007/08 says biometric technology will be used to secure our borders and help the UK public, and the public and private sectors know who has a right to be here.
In the long-term, the technology could ease delays, she said, adding that the 90,000 people who have enrolled in the iris recognition system are already getting into country more quickly.
However, mainstream press reports state the introduction of scanning technology has doubled the time it takes to process people arriving back to the UK.