Automated facial recognition in airports could mean passport officer job losses

The trial of automated facial recognition technology in airports in the summer has raised concern for passport officer job losses.

Airline passengers will be screened using the new technology instead of being checked by passport officers, in an attempt to improve security in UK airports.

Gary Murphy, the head of operational design and development for the UK Border Agency, said: “We are planning a trial of facial recognition gates to see if they deliver our requirements. We think a machine can do a better job.”

Murphy admitted to the Telegraph that the new technology was likely to cause concern among employees. “There are also internal staff issues.

“Will they see it as a threat to their jobs or an opportunity for more interesting work? We want to divert their work to areas where their skills can best be used,” he said.

Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: “Britain’s border security is now among the toughest in the world and tougher checks do take time.

“But we don’t want long waits so the UK Border Agency will soon be testing new automatic gates for British citizens. We’ll test them this year, and if they work, we’ll put them at all key ports.”

If the pilot scheme is successful, it will be extended to all major UK airports, the Home Office said.

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