Search

‘Dad’s Army’ of volunteer border guards could patrol region’s coastline under government plans

PUBLISHED: 09:22 31 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:05 01 January 2018

Sea Palling beach. Picture: Inga Hinsley

Sea Palling beach. Picture: Inga Hinsley

(c) copyright newzulu.com

A “Dad’s Army” of volunteer border guards could patrol the east of England’s coastline under plans being considered by the government.

The Home Office confirmed that proposals for Border Force Special Volunteers at small air and sea ports were being discussed.

They would be used to bolster Border Force staffing levels, in a similar vein to police community support officers.

The Border Force carries out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK, and reports in the past have raised concerns over “poor” coverage of dozens of minor harbours and laning places.

The bags of cocaine seized from Norfolk beaches. Picture: NCAThe bags of cocaine seized from Norfolk beaches. Picture: NCA

MORE: Migrants attempt to reach Sea Palling from the Netherlands

According to the Mail on Sunday, a trial run will see 50 volunteers patrol the east coast - including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Southwold and Felixstowe - next year, with plans for the scheme to be expanded to cover Britain’s 7,000 miles of coastline.

Last May, Dutch authorities caught a suspected people-trafficking ring attempting to smuggle migrants from the Netherlands to Sea Palling.

At the time, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said he had concerns the region’s coastline was “wide open” to criminals, describing it as “vulnerable”.

But Lorne Green, his equivalent in Norfolk, said the county’s police force had a close relationship with Border force and was “well placed to deal with anything that could arise”.

And in February, more than £50m of cocaine was found washed up on beaches in Hopton and Caister.

MORE: East Anglia coast is ‘wide open’ to smugglers and criminal gangs

A Home Office spokesman said: “Border Force is currently considering the potential benefits of a Border Force Special Volunteer force, and is in discussions with other law enforcement agencies such as local police to understand how they use volunteers in addition to their existing workforce.”

An inspection by the department published earlier this year of 62 ports, wharves, marinas and jetties on the east coast that were normally unmanned found Border Force officers had not been to 27 of the sites during the 15 months from April 2015 to June 2016.

A spokesman said volunteers would not be used by Immigration Enforcement, but added: “We’re committed to ensuring that Border Force has the resources it needs to keep the UK safe and we will never compromise the security of our borders.”

But Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, speaking to the Mail on Sunday, warned against a “Dad’s Army-type of set-up”.

MORE: More than £50m worth of cocaine has been discovered washed up on beaches in Hopton and Caister

Other News

Yesterday, 17:35

Norfolk’s police chief has said he will make a case for more police officers on the street, but it would mean a rise in council tax.

Yesterday, 16:26

A “dangerous” arsonist, who risked lives by setting fire to his home in Great Yarmouth, was jailed before for starting two fires at a previous address, a court heard.

Yesterday, 16:01

Parents at a Norfolk academy have described their anger after finding out that if their children had missed a day at school they would not be able to take part in a non-uniform day.

Yesterday, 14:40

Motorists are being advised that they could face delays this weekend as police prepare to transport an abnormal load.

Most Read

Yesterday, 16:01

Parents at a Norfolk academy have described their anger after finding out that if their children had missed a day at school they would not be able to take part in a non-uniform day.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:12

Ambulances have been head butted, kicked, and had blue lights ripped off in shocking acts of vandalism on the emergency vehicles - sometimes while crews have been trying to treat patients.

Read more
NHS
Thu, 09:34

A 46-year-old shop assistant was racially abused by a customer in Great Yarmouth.

Read more

Plans for a former pub to be turned into a luxury tobacconist have been put under fire by a nearby health centre, with bosses arguing it would “give out entirely the wrong message”.

Read more
NHS
Mon, 18:00

School trips usually involve taking children to see one of Shakespeare’s great plays or visiting a historic museum.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 2°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Great Yarmouth Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy