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  1. ITV Report

Airport queues avoided during strike

The strike came on the day an official report blamed long queues last year on a lack of planning Photo: PA

Huge queues were avoided at Heathrow Airport when Immigration staff went on strike. At its worst, passengers took an hour and a half to get through Immigration at Terminal 3 and the government described the strike over pensions reform as ineffective.

As Phil Bayles reports, passengers arriving on long haul flights confirmed that there were no significant delays, unlike last month, when they complained of long waits:

The strike comes on the day that an official report blames long queues last year on a lack of effective planning at a time of job cuts. Inspections were carried out between August and November last year when it was discovered that some Immigration staff were finishing shifts just as the peak periods for arrivals on long haul flights were starting.

The chief inspector of borders and immigration, John Vine said the failure to match limited resources to demand at Heathrow damaged the ability of border staff to maintain effective and efficient controls.

The report also criticised staff training and supervision. It said that two out of three searches of passengers were "neither justified nor proportionate or in line with legislation and agency guidance." Body searches were carried without justification and some passengers were arrested despite officers finding no illicit goods during searches.

The government says that there are now more staff at the border during peak times and clearer guidance for staff on when vital checks are required.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "This report covers the period before the Border Force was split from the UK Border Agency and since then we have taken action to tackle these issues."