Border Force ‘very unhappy’ with number of tourists says expert
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Border security expert Chris Hobbs was told by Border Force staff they feel “demoralised” that they can not do their jobs effectively as tourists still enter the country despite strict rules. Thousands of tourists are entering the UK each day leaving Border Force tackling large queues of people armed with paperwork. Mr Hobbs added despite the strict rules for UK travellers, many are still leaving the country with few checks as the security expert fears they may be spreading the British coronavirus variant to other nations.
Appearing on LBC, host Andrew Castle spoke to Mr Hobbs and said: “At this point, I mean, I see a few aeroplanes around the place but I assume cargo is on them but clearly not as it is people.”
Mr Hobbs replied: “Yes, that’s right, I mean the news this morning did surprise me that tourists were still coming in.
“Having said that I was in central London on Saturday observing this protest and it strikes me that they were rather a lot of tourists wandering around – so it is surprising.
“The Border Force at Heathrow and Gatwick, but especially Heathrow, is not having a happy time at the moment.
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“You mentioned tourists leaving the UK I’m reliably informed there are virtually no checks on tourists leaving the UK on Brits going out in the country.
“There’s no police inspecting documents or questioning so if you want to go you can basically go if you’re prepared to take a small risk.
“As someone coming in, the poor old Border Force they’ve been having to deal with huge queues because of the extra paperwork they’ve had to process.
“They’re very unhappy, they will be very unhappy about this but they’re very unhappy about the numbers of people that have been coming in.
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“Thousands and thousands of returning Brits as well coming from abroad which again they’re very unhappy with.
“Especially from the Indian subcontinent and from the far east obviously there are strong family ties there.
“You can appreciate people wanting to visit families but overall we’ve got a very unhappy and demoralised Border Force who feel they’re not really being able to do the job that they’re paid to do now.”
Mr Castle then pointed out that new travel rules would be soon coming from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said many are desperate to get away.
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Mr Hobbs agreed and said: “Oh absolutely, but it does worry me a bit that perhaps we’ve also been exporting Covid.
“I was watching a programme, an Indian news programme yesterday, and apparently the British variant is rife there and they’re having a surge in many parts of India.
“So you do wonder whether being lax on some people leaving the country for whatever reason isn’t doing other countries any favours whatsoever.”
The UK government is set to lay out plans for a traffic light system to restart international travel.
The coloured system will put countries on a red, amber or green list which will state whether quarantine is required.
The scheme builds on the previous red list restrictions and will be put in place for mid-May.
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