Heathrow airport passport shambles “cover-up” bid by Border Agency

08:14 30 April 2012

UK border chiefs at Heathrow airport were accused of mounting a cover up bid to hide lengthy delays endured by passengers.

The Border Agency wants passengers banned from taking pictures of three hour long queues.

Leaflets which apologise for the delays should also not be handed out, demanded Marc Owen; director of the UK Border to the airport’s operater.

Heathrow operator BAA claimed people arriving in the country “deserved a warmer welcome” - the leaflets explaining how to complain to the Home Office.

But in a leaked email, Mr Owen, told BAA the leaflets are “inappropriate” and that ministers would take “a very dim view”.

“The leaflet... is both inflammatory and likely to increase tensions in arrivals halls especially in the current atmosphere.

“It is inappropriate in that it is not for you to display how to complain on our behalf.

“Please refrain from handing out (the leaflets) or I will escalate (the matter) with ministers who are likely to take a very dim view. I know there are copies in the hall and your troops are ready with them,” said Mr Own in the email seen by the Telegraph.

Former transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour’s aviation spokesman, said: “This is a pure cover-up. I can understand people wanting to take pictures of the queues. This is further evidence of Border Force trying to hide the severity of the problem.

“Passengers need to know how to register complaints and for Border Force to try to prevent them doing so is outrageous.”

In a joint statement, the Border Force and BAA said: “The majority of passengers pass through immigration control quickly but there are sometimes delays at airports for a range of reasons.

“We think it’s important passengers are given the full picture.

“We will not compromise border security but we will work together to keep delays to a minimum.”

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

We give our verdicts on the outfits that graced the red carpet.

Read more

Is Downton Abbey just a soap opera hiding under all that pomposity?

Read more

Know what lurks in the deep off our coast…

Read more

TOP Stories

People have been out in force tying yellow ribbons to lamp posts to urge people to keep looking for Alice Gross (Picture by Carlene Bender)

The Metropolitan Police Service have said the hunt for missing schoolgirl Alice Gross is the biggest search they have mounted since the 7/7 terror attacks.

Staff at the Hackney Empire took this photograph of the flash floods.

Londoners experienced rush hour chaos on Friday night caused by unexpected storms.

Yesterday, 15:17
The teenagers were found guilty at the Old Bailey (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

A boy has been found guilty of raping a teenager in a Willesden alleyway in punishment for spreading rumours about his sister.

Promotions

Imagine having your own idyllic house in the French countryside - and make it happen! [Photograph by Mike Simler]

Ever dreamed of living in a rural cottage in France with ivy round the door, chickens in your garden, and fresh croissants for breakfast from the local patisserie a short walk away in the nearby village?

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

London Bloggers

Wed, 14:16
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more