New staff 'let in terror suspects'

Terror suspects are entering the UK ahead of the Olympics because inexperienced border staff are failing to carry out the proper security checks, frontline Heathrow officials have claimed.

The new staff, who have been recruited to shorten queues at Britain's largest airport in the run up to the Games, are repeatedly "missing" passengers on the Home Office watch list who should be referred to counter-terrorism officers when they reach passport control, a senior border officer told the Observer.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the UK Border Agency official claimed three terror suspects had been waved through by staff on his shifts since the start of July.

All were registered on the Home Office suspect index system.

Another employee alleged that staff had missed five suspects in just one day earlier this month.

The senior official told the newspaper: "The missing of counter-terrorism 'hits' is a huge thing, but new recruits are not getting enough time to be taught.

"It is vital these people do not get in without being noted and that the information is passed to the police or security services. Once they're in, you've no idea where they might be going."

Border officials are instructed immediately to alert counter-terrorism police or MI5 if they suspect an "SX traveller" is attempting to enter the UK.

But a large number of Home Office officials have been drafted in from different departments to help cope with border staffing shortages before the Olympics.

Those working on passport desks have received just basic training with some only getting a day's tuition instead of the standard six to eight weeks, according to The Observer.