Border Force staff 'demoralised' as thousands of tourists enter UK each day

5 April 2021, 10:59

By Fiona Jones

Border Force staff are "very unhappy" that thousands of tourists are entering the UK each day - with hundreds arriving on visas issued by the Home Office, border security expert Chris Hobbs tells LBC.

Thousands of tourists are being let in to the country every day, despite the Government tightening restrictions on British people going abroad.

Of the 20,000 people arriving every day, around 8,000 are tourists, with hundreds arriving on tourist visas issued by the Home Office, according to Border Force staff.

One visa was granted to a tourist from Peru who said on their application form that the reason for their trip to the UK was to “visit Big Ben”.

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Former border officer Chris Hobbs told Andrew Castle the Border Force at Gatwick and Heathrow airports are "not having a happy time at the moment."

"I'm reliably informed there's virtually no checks on tourists leaving the UK at the moment...there's no police inspecting documents or questioning, so if you want to go you can basically go if you are prepared to take a small risk."

He continued, "As for them coming in the poor old Border Force have been having to deal with huge queues due to the extra paperwork they're having to process... they're very unhappy about the numbers of people coming in."

Mr Hobbs said staff at the borders are "very demoralised" they are not able to do the job they are paid for.

"You do wonder whether being lax on people leaving the country for whatever reason isn't doing other countries any favours whatsoever."

Independent SAGE member Dr Gabriel Scally told LBC he was "alarmed" that this amount of people are entering the country each day, branding the system "botched."

"At last we're doing well in terms of getting people safe and vaccinated...but that's just one protection. What we really need to worry about is this virus," he said.

"We're protected at the moment from most of the viruses circulating but the virus changes and mutates, the more the virus is replicating in people and countries, the more opportunity it has to mutate."

Dr Gabriel said the vaccine efforts become fruitless if "you're going to let people travel around the world."

He told LBC, "This system looks like another botched attempt to convince people we're handling the virus properly."

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