April 18. 2024. 12:14

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UK Border Force told to ‘deprioritise’ gun, drug checks to ease queues


Airport managers asked Border Force officers to “deprioritise” customs work – which includes searching for guns and drugs – in order to shorten passport queues so as to not frustrate travellers.

According to The Guardian, there were leaked emails that showed that Manchester airport staff were told this month that customs work should only be carried out if “there is no likelihood of an excessive queue time.”

This meant no spot-checks for illegal firearms, offensive weapons or drugs by customs officers, The Guardian’s sources said. The investigation does not include any information about the countries these people are travelling to or from.

EURACTIV reached out to the UK Home Office to see if they were aware of the situation, to which a Home Office spokesperson responded that the Border Force’s “number one priority is to keep our borders safe and secure for all passengers, and we will never compromise on this.”

“During peak periods, resources are continually assessed to balance all pressures. Resources are deployed dynamically through intelligence and data to intervene any potential threats,” the spokesperson added.

This report comes just a day after the new post-Brexit deal was announced by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen at a joint press conference, where they set out the terms of the so-called ‘Windsor Framework’, the potential successor to the Northern Ireland protocol.

EURACTIV has also reached out to the European Commission to see if they were aware of the situation and, if so, whether these travellers were moving between the EU and the UK but no reponse was recieved by the time of publication.

(Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com)