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Cash-starved and over-stretched: the UK’s Border Force

Photo Credit: The Office of Mike Hookem MEP, caption: Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEP, Mike Hookem, stands next to the Royal Navy training ship, HMS Archer, while on a visit to Grimsby fishing docks.


Theresa May’s Tory government is sowing the seeds of chaos to leave the EU in name only! Her Government said it was considering retiring two military landing ships; BAE Systems announced it was laying off thousands of workers in vital defence manufacturing roles, and a former Border Force chief claimed the service could be thrown into chaos without considerable recruitment.

It looks very much to me like this disastrous Tory government is purposely running down the UK’s ability to defend itself by undermining defence manufacturing, reducing military capability, and slashing armed forces personnel. These cuts, mixed with a Chancellor who is unwilling to prepare for a “no-deal “scenario, and the utter chaos the Tories have created in UK Border Force, spell a recipe for disaster.

In my opinion, Theresa May is using smoke and mirrors to deflect from the fact that she intends to leave the EU in name only. While she talks tough on leaving the EU, everything her government does signals the opposite.

You only have to look at Mrs May’s deeply flawed Great Repeal Bill and her ridiculous speech in Florence to see that she is nothing more than an EU appeaser! And as Mrs May’s premiership lurches from one disaster to another, we can now see a pattern emerging of cuts that further weakens the UK’s vital industries and services, which, in turn, could undermine our ability to defend our interests and borders post-Brexit.

It was obvious two years ago when I was in the Calais Jungle that Border Force was so cash-starved, it was no longer able to cope; and if anything, the situation has deteriorated since then. As for the continuing deep cuts to our military capability, I believe that this is nothing more than an attempt to weaken our armed forces to the point where we have no other choice than to join the quickly developing EU army.

The simple fact is, if the UK is to make a success of whatever form of Brexit we eventually achieve, we must have the ability to defend our borders; manufacture defence equipment, and have a strong, independent armed forces. Without these capabilities, I’m afraid we will be forever more subservient to the EU.

Even worse is her Government’s decision to use the “scant resources” of Border Force to police EU environmental law on a Kent sandbank. The priority of Border Force on the South-East Coast should be protecting Britain from illegal migration and criminal activity; not persecuting fishermen for potential breaches of EU environmental law!

The revelations that Border Force will be used to ‘ensure full compliance’ with the 1992 EU ‘Habitats Directive’ on a small sandbank near Margate came to light in a recent document published by the fishing enforcement agency, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The MMO document says that the estimated annual enforcement costs to protect the sandbank range from £17,375 – £18,375. However, under the heading, “Other key non-monetised costs” the document states:

“The MMO proposes to use other enforcement bodies such as UK Border Agency and the police to fully utilise their resources for surveillance and enforcement. These costs cannot be monetised at present as they are requested on an ad hoc basis, and costs can vary.”

I think the MMO’s decision to heap further pressure on Border Forces in an area already under great pressure from the ongoing European migrant crisis is a flagrant waste of scant resources.

The UK Border Agency has recently seen budget cuts totalling £100 million. However, it would seem Government mandarins feel it is more important to uphold EU legislation than protect our coastline from illegal immigration and criminal activity.

This move by the MMO to use Border Force as its police force seems to follow a worrying pattern. From speaking to members of fishing communities up and down the country, it seems that Border Agency vessels are being used more and more to police the fishing industry, with boardings to check catches becoming a regular occurrence.

Having spent five weeks examining the migrant crisis in Northern France, I understand the threat this country currently faces from illegal migration. Border Force does not need the distraction of having to police fisheries and enforce barmy EU rules.

My outrage at the MMO’s move to use Border Force assets to police UK fisheries was echoed by Essex fishing skipper, Ray Lovett, who often operates in the Margate area. Mr Lovett, a fisherman with many years’ experience and the owner/skipper of the Anna Louise, HH56, based in Harwich, Essex, said:

“as a full-time fisherman with many years’ experience, I have been subjected to this wasteful use of our protection services before. I do not understand how priority can be given to harassing law-abiding inshore fishermen with Border Agency craft; while at the same time illegal immigrants are being boated ashore on the beaches of South East England. What if these were terrorists?”

The public must be made aware that our political masters – people who are supposed to serve us, the Great British public – put more emphasis on trying to catch out fishermen than they do to protect our shores from criminal activity and illegal immigration.

This madness must be highlighted and stopped!



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13 Comments on Cash-starved and over-stretched: the UK’s Border Force

  1. Of course, Mike is quite right.

    On this matter, the rot in enforcement goes deeper than the Border Force.

    I have directly witnessed our unfit-for-purpose, left-wing, common-purpose-infiltrated police turning a blind eye to someone who admitted to their face to being an illegal immigrant (all this in a minor traffic-related matter in Stratford – I was a passer-by). The person said he didn’t want to give the copper his details for fear, as he put it, of getting into trouble with Immigration because his visa had expired.

    The copper assured him that wouldn’t be a problem!

    I was gobsmacked.

    I challenged the policeman over this, right in front of this other person, and said if the copper didn’t take the chap in for questioning, I might carry out a citizen’s arrest on the spot.

    Guess what I got told?

    “Try that and I’ll nick you.”

    I took down the copper’s badge number, and – this happened a decade ago – probably still have it. He’s probably a Chief Super by now.

  2. Mass immigration is wholly desired by the establishment. Why would a Conservative, Labour or LibDem government want to stop it? This a farce, ultimately, designed to replace the indigenous population. Any Border Force is simply there to make it look like our leaders care. They don’t. People who don’t want mass immigration should stop voting for the guilty parties.

  3. On this, UK Defence Forces handover to EU, PESCO and more:
    UK Column News – 26th October 2017

    In other editions when their presenter Brian Gerrish started off about Admiralty law and tasselled flags I wondered what UKC is really all about. On this occasion they seem to be lucid and pertinent.

  4. If you dig into this I think you will find that the ‘sandbank’ is actually a breeding area for shellfish that are picked by illegal immigrant gangs. And so having the border force surveil a site regularly used by gangs of illegals isn’t such a bad idea. Easy pickings, and protecting the marine environment at the same time. Don’tr you remember the 30 chinese cockle pickers of morecombe who died when the tide came in? In fact, by having this shellfish as a bait (excuse pun) to draw illegals to it, isn’t this an even easier way of law enforcement than, say, raiding restaurants?

  5. Absolutely will the government use border security as another route to EU Defence Union to economize. It will be French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch and German patrol boats looking the other way as their fishermen plunder UK waters and they escort Jihadis across the Channel into Britain.

  6. Thanks Mike for an important and worrying article.
    If the UK was a tug of war team then it seems to me that half our lot would be pulling for the other side.
    Major incompetence is the charitable interpretation; but far too charitable for me!

  7. On a related side-note, I returned last night from a holiday in Rhodes, Greece. On arrival at Birmingham Airport, I had to go through the rigmarole again of being forced into a long snake queue to try and put myself and my passport through one of their many very-expensive passport scanning machines. For some unknown reason, my biometric passport has never worked in these bloody things, and I’ve always been shunted off towards a desk where an actual human being examines my passport before allowing me through.
    I’ve flown to many destinations in recent years from Birmingham, and at Newark (New Jersey, USA), Prague, Palma (Majorca), Lanzarote, Gibraltar and Rhodes they’ve never had these expensive machines, and with just a couple of staff on the checkpoints, can quite easily process a long queue quite efficiently.
    Yet on arrival back home at Birmingham Airport, there are eight (I think) no doubt very expensive machines for scanning passports, with two or three staff waiting around to guide people through, with a further two or three staff on checkpoint desks ready to check passports for groups or non-EU citizens, or those like me who are unfortunate to have defective passports. (Apparently mine isn’t quite laminated properly, so doesn’t sit in the scanner properly when I insert it).
    So in the context of the above article I agree; cuts are being made to the Border Force, while there is money available to be spent on machines that in my mind are an astronomical waste of money. Believe me there is no worse feeling that being dragged away from one of these machines when your passport fails to scan, and being treated like a ‘potential terrorist’ while returning to your home country.
    And the amazing thing is that even with these expensive scanning machines, our government still has no idea exactly how many people are coming into our country!

    • Wear a burka next time, or perhaps grow a beard, be unwashed and look as if you’re concealing a weapon.

      Either way be sure to spit hatred towards Britain, the West at all times when in the hall, and push to the head of the queue.

      You’ll be waved through with barely a glance at your travel documents, perhaps offered a hot choc and cream buns, for fear of offending your “sensitivities”…

      (For the humour-impaired, I’m not actually advocating such conduct)

  8. The Border Force is beyond reform. In some countries immigration is a division of the police and is well resourced. This seems to work for the most part but is not an option here with our PC police force.

    The only sensible option would be to hand over to the military with a recruitment programme to reverse Cameron’s cuts and bring it up to a level fit for purpose. Any support for EU policies needs to be cut now.

  9. kenneth james ogilvie // October 27, 2017 at 1:57 am // Reply

    I was one of the 10000 that took early retirement from the border force 2010-2011, we have never been replaced. Camoron effectively destroyed the armed forces and the border controls during his tenure and should never be forgiven, and now Fallon is continuing that destruction of the Royal Navy

    • I was also an IO in the early 1990s at a time when we stopped all outbound checks. At that time the union wouldn’t allow the introduction of computers so at the start of the shift we had to spend 10 minutes updating our ‘blue books’ with the new names of banned people. Asylum claims boomed and the HO wasn’t dealing with them. I don’t think you can put all the blame on Cameron.

  10. Understand this we are ruled by utter ,treacherous traitors to the core. They will stop at nothing to decimate our ability in every field.
    The end game is upon us and May is the puppet along with her sidekick,rudderless.
    They have no intention of stopping immigration or restoring our unique rights as a sovereign nation.

    I can’t stand to see their “treacherous” faces spewing utter lies.
    Not only that they are busy pushing through all kinds of hate laws against us “White Britons”.
    Every institution is geared for our downfall with their foot soldiers in all important positions across the spectrum, especially with law enforcement to undermine us at every turn.

  11. A good and necessary article which should be circulated widely (hint for twitter and other social media users).

    “The simple fact is, if the UK is to make a success of whatever form of Brexit we eventually achieve, we must have the ability to defend our borders; manufacture defence equipment, and have a strong, independent armed forces. Without these capabilities, I’m afraid we will be forever more subservient to the EU.”

    That is the nub and kernel of the whole issue. Might makes right. Without means of enforcing sovereignty, it’s an empty phrase.

    The UK Government’s increasingly visible perfidy marks it as illegitimate.

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