Sunday 6th May 2012 | 10:26
Yvette Cooper: Border chaos 'shambles' is now becoming a security risk
Following up on The Observer report 'Border checks on drugs and guns 'dropped' at Heathrow', Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:
"This border chaos isn't just another government shambles, it is now
becoming a security risk.
"The Home Secretary was warned about the risk of cutting so many
borders staff, particularly in Olympic year. It is rapidly becoming
clear she has failed to take action to make sure the Borders Force can
cope with the scale of cuts without either massive queues or reducing
"This crisis has been building for some time. How has the Home
Secretary allowed it to get this bad?
"Instead of hiding away, Theresa May needs to investigate these
breaches urgently, and make sure security is being maintained. She
needs to make sure that appropriate customs checks are still taking
place and that panic action to staff the passport desks is not leaving
customs completely empty. Ministers have a responsibility to make sure
that the Borders Force have the staff and the capability to keep
travellers moving, but also to keep the public safe.
"Last year Ministers licensed major security downgrades whilst
claiming not to know what was going on. This year they don't seem to
have a clue about the extent of the queues or of the risks to security
being taken at our ports.
"While thousands of borders force staff are being cut, Borders Force
management and morale seems now to be in chaos too. Home Office
management of Britain's borders is drifting from one shambles to
"On the Home Secretary's shoulders rests our security at home and our
reputation abroad. Theresa May needs to take responsibility for this
mess, get it sorted out, and urgently explain to the public and
Parliament what is going on."