IT Fail Causes Delays At UK Border Control

UK border Heathrow plane - Shutterstock - © Regien Paassen

Government says sorry for issues that hit Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham, causing delays for travellers

An IT failure has caused upset amongst travellers passing through border control, causing severe delays.

The problems emerged on Wednesday afternoon and are still being addressed by the UK Border Force. The issues caused lengthy queues as machines used to check passports reportedly failed.

They appeared to affect border control at various airports, including Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester.

British Passport with MicrochipGovernment sorry over border control issues

“We are currently experiencing temporary IT problems which may add to the time taken to conduct passport checks,” a government spokesperson told media.

“We are working to rectify this issue and are providing extra staff to get passengers through the controls as quickly as possible. Our priority remains security of the border.

“We apologise for any additional time this adds to passengers’ journeys.”

Heathrow said it was seeing longer queues than normal but understood the Border Force was sending in more staff to assist, whilst Birmingham admitted the problem appeared to be getting increasingly severe.

Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire said the problems were being dealt with. “Our engineers have been working through the night to fix the temporary IT problems that regrettably led to longer queues for some passengers at passport controls yesterday,” Brokenshire said, in an emailed statement to TechWeekEurope.

“The current situation is much improved and we are doing our best to keep waiting times to a minimum during this morning’s busy period.

“We apologise for any delays but security must remain our priority at all times.”

The UK immigration control agencies have had numerous IT issues in the past. In early 2013, the now-defunct UK Border Agency wrongly told people they were not legally allowed to be in the UK, thanks to inaccurate records.

It had various issues with its £9 million Iris Recognition Immigration System too, leading the project to collapse in 2012.

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