The UK’s borders are vulnerable to smugglers and illegal immigrants, a report by David Bolt, the chief inspector of borders and immigration, has concluded.
Investigating the robustness of Britain’s ports and border infrastructure, Mr. Bolt found severe shortcomings and failings, with some Border Force personnel telling the chief they are “resourced to fail.”
Stressing the severity of the situation, border officers told Mr. Bolt they are “not remotely confident” that they are materially hampering smugglers and illegal immigrants.
Moreover, the report said Border Force personnel were simply unable to carry out basic checks – such as searching lorries and cars with tinted windows – as they are so under resourced.
The chief inspector also hit out at the current system for fining drivers carrying illegal immigrants, describing it as “broken” and highlighting that not a single fine has been issued since mid-2016.
UK Border Force is actively looking to recruit some 1,000 officers, not to bolster its manpower, but to simply meet “normal staff turnover.”
“I recognise it is dealing with many challenges, not just along the south coast, but nationally, and that its job is not made any easier by having to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU without clarity, as yet, about what exactly this will involve,” Mr. Bolt said.
“However, it is difficult to escape the impression that Border Force believes it knows best and will make changes only on its own terms and at its own pace.”