'Games role' for ex-border officers

Concerns have been raised that queues at Heathrow Airport are 'damaging' the UK's reputation

Concerns have been raised that queues at Heathrow Airport are 'damaging' the UK's reputation

First published in National News © by

Retired immigration officers will be brought back to ease airport border control queues during the Olympics, it has been reported.

Passport checkpoint veterans will return to duty over the summer to cope with the extra visitors set to descend on south east terminals.

The revelation came after criticism of three-hour queues at Heathrow last week, prompting fears the hub will struggle to deal with the predicted hundreds of thousands additional passengers arriving for the London Games.

The Sunday Telegraph reported the Border Force, an agency of the Home Office, planned to spend £2.5 million bringing back ex-members of staff who will receive travel expenses, be given hotel accommodation and paid allowances of up to £30 an hour.

It was announced on Friday that MPs will question Immigration Minister Damian Green about the severe queues at Heathrow.

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "This is not just about the Olympics, this is about what happens before and after, it's about Heathrow as a world-class airport and it's about our reputation, and we need to make sure we get it sorted."

But Border Force chief Brian Moore insisted: "The vast majority of passengers pass through immigration control quickly.

"Queues are caused by a number of factors, including incorrect flight manifests or early or late planes which result in bunching.

"The important factor is to have staff that are flexibly deployed in the right numbers at the right times and this is what we always try to do."


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