UK Airports criticised for “discriminatory” use of search powers: Channel 4 News

Posted: May 10, 2012 in Aviation & Airports (General News), Gatwick, Heathrow
Tags: , , , , , , ,

[Channel 4 News] Following the row over lengthy immigration queues, terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick come under fire for their use of searches at borders, with practices at one branded “discriminatory”.

Heathrow: Records showed 67 per cent of searches was neither justified nor proportionate.   Photo:  Wikipedia

Heathrow: Records showed 67 per cent of searches was neither justified nor proportionate. Photo: Wikipedia

Gatwick Airport North Terminal has been criticised for how it carries out passenger searches and uses arrest powers in a report published following a routine inspection last year.

The airport, which handles more than 30 million passenger journeys per year, was criticised in a report by the independent chief inspector of borders for “discriminatory practice in the conduct of detection activity”.

An examination of search records showed that in 71 per cent of cases, the search was neither justified nor proportionate. Some passengers were arrested even though searches had not revealed any illicit goods.

The inspection also revealed that an analysis of searches conducted over the last two years had revealed persistent differences in the ethnicities of passengers subject to searches, with some officers using negative stereotypes to determine which passengers to stop when detecting illicit goods.

The chief inspector, Jon Vine, said: “The extent of any discriminatory practices [at Gatwick] should be investigated and action taken to ensure officers understand and comply with the Agency’s duties under the Equality Act 2010.”

Emma Norton, legal officer for the human rights organisation Liberty, said that indiscriminate stops are counterproductive and harmful:

“The UKBA has enough on its plate with the Olympics looming without wasting time and money on checks which are as unnecessary as they are discriminatory. Border officials have a difficult and demanding job but the Inspector’s finding that 71 per cent of searches were unjustified is…..

Read the full story at Channel 4 News….


Channel 4 News
Thursday 10 May 2012


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