Female passengers 'singled out' for strip searches at Gatwick Airport

Updated: 

Female passengers 'singled out' for strip searches at Gatwick AirportRex



A disproportionate amount of women are being singled out for strip searches at Gatwick Airport, according to a new report.

The Government's chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, also revealed that Afro-Caribbean women in particular are being targeted, after carrying out a study into the conduct of Border Force staff in the immigration and customs department of the airport's North Terminal last summer.

According to the Daily Mail, he said: "Although the majority of person searches involved men, women were significantly more likely to be subject to a strip search than men if a search was undertaken."

In fact, his research revealed that 54% of women who were stopped and inspected were later strip searched compared with only 20% of men.

Mr Vine said there were "insufficient grounds" for women to be stopped in the first place, never mind for a strip search to be conducted.

Reasons give by Border Force staff to strip search women included that they had only bought a ticket one day one day before travel, they were carrying £200 in cash, and because they said they were visiting Britain to look for hair and beauty products.

Mr Vine also found irregularities in the way searches were recorded, which, the report says, could "mean officers could face charges of assault in relation to the conduct of person searches".

Guidance issued to staff at airports is reportedly now being rewritten.

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