“Understaffed” Border Force officials believe Britain’s southern border is “not secured by any stretch of the imagination”, a damning new report reveals.
The report submitted to the Home Office by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration raises fresh questions into the effectiveness and competence of a Border Force on its knees.
Border Force employees in Portsmouth told the independent investigator that “migrants were well aware of Border Forces’ limited resources” and were certain that “groups of illegal migrant groups coordinated their entry attempts”. The employees admitted the migrants’ “intel is a lot better than ours”.
In Southampton, despite Border Force officials highlighting in early 2018 that car transporters were being frequently used to traffic migrants, they “were not routinely searched”.
Inspectors reported that officials were regularly not checking car boots or back seats even in cars with tinted windows.Officers told inspectors they had “limited capacity to search tourist vehicles due to staff shortages.”
The Border Force South West Command which covers the ports of Poole and Plymouth), identified in February 2018 a risk of the “lack of detention accommodation across the region”. This resulted in Portsmouth making use of police custody suites on 108 occasions at a cost to Border Force of £76,697.27.
Port managers interviewed by inspectors said they believed the Border Force was “resourced to fail” with border patrol employees telling inspectors “there were not enough of them to meet increasing operational pressures.”
In its response to the report, the Home Office accepted or partially accepted all recommendations and vowed to work with key partners to “provide a more modern and efficient services for the customer and allow our highly trained officers to increasingly focus on areas of risk.”
Commenting on the report, think tank Migration Watch said it is “imperative the Home Office heeds the warnings and addresses the problems before it escalates to ‘Jungle’ proportions.”
The Home Office further admitted: “We accept that improvements can be made and will be taking forward the recommendations.
It is critical that the country’s Border Force has adequate resources to conduct its work effectively, ensuring Britain’s borders are secure. The Home Office ignores the first-hand testimonies in this report at its peril.