Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency publishes report on border control at Manchester Airport

A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has found that the effectiveness of Facial Recognition Gates at Manchester Airport may be compromised by unreliable technology.

Manchester Airport is the largest UK airport outside of London, handling over 20 million passenger movements each year.  Approximately 85% of passenger movements are a result of international travel.

As part of a wider inspection into the UK Border Agency’s operations in the North West of England region, the Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM found that the Facial Recognition Gates at Manchester Airport were not operational for a significant period of time during his inspection. However, when the Gates were working, they delivered benefits to passengers, reducing the time taken to go through passport control, increasing border security and allowing the Agency to make better use of its staff.

Mr Vine also found that, at the time of inspection, there were two areas of the airport where international passengers transferring between terminals could potentially walk out without passing through any primary control points.  

Mr Vine said “A high level of security is paramount at any airport so I was concerned to find that the UK Border Agency had known about a potential risk to the border for some time. At the time of inspection, no contingency plans had been put in place to deal with this risk. I would urge that this be addressed as a matter of priority.”

Download the full report as a PDF here:

An inspection of border control at Manchester Airport

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