Uniforms Strengthen UK Security

Uniforms strengthen UK security

BBC News
Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK

The new uniform will be brought in at airports across the country
Immigration officers at Gatwick Airport have started wearing uniforms in a bid to strengthen security.

The government said the move would make it clear to people using the Sussex airport they were at a UK border.

Immigration staff at Stansted Airport in Essex already wear uniforms, which will also be brought in at airports across the country next month.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said highly-visible staff would improve confidence in the immigration system.

He said: “Maintaining and strengthening the security of Britain's borders is a top priority.

“We are determined to improve public confidence in how immigration is managed.

“Key to this is the creation of highly visible staff at our borders, to deter people who have no right to be here.”

He said biometric technology and “continued vigilance” were also key to cracking down on illegal entry.

About 4,300 people were refused permission to enter the UK at Gatwick last year, he added.

The uniforms comprise dark blue suits and light blue shirts.

Iris-recognition system

New border signage has also been brought in at the airport.

Checks already in place include passport scanners, further document inspections, and the use of a UK watchlist of known criminals and immigration offenders.

In May, eye-scanning technology was brought in at the airport's south terminal.

The iris-recognition system allows signed-up passengers to look into a camera at an automated barrier, which recognises data stored on a database together with their passport details, to gain speeded-up entry into the UK.