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Cornish Border Checks "Ludicrous"
6:03am 28th November 2011
Unions say Cornwall's border controls are "ludicrous."
Pirate FM has discovered that foreign vessels arriving in the Duchy are supposed to phone and request checks themselves.
One ex-worker has told us "anything and anyone can get into Cornwall's ports and does."
Security expert Noel Whelan said, "When you have a porous coastline like Cornwall, people can get into the country quite easily. If you can imagine you had a fence all the way around Britain and you have a hole in one place people will go to the gap in the fence to get to their objective."
Reps from the PCS union have warned the system is totally based on trust. They are worried government cuts are likely to make cover worse. Spokesperson Kathryn Craig said, "It seems slightly ludicrous the Cornish coastline is going to be covered, I believe, by three operatives based in Gatwick. I don't think most people would have much confidence in an arrangement like that."
A UK Border Agency spokesman said, “Falmouth Custom House has not been an operational base for some years and will close early in 2012. Given Cornwall’s lengthy coastline and large number of small ports and harbours, a static thin blue line of staff based permanently at a single port is not the most effective way to cover the county. Using mobile teams from Plymouth and elsewhere allows the UK Border Agency officers to go, on an intelligence-led basis, to where the risk is greatest.
“We have UK Border Agency staff continually operating in Cornwall as well as a fleet of cutters which are active in the South West approaches. Passengers and crew arriving at Cornwall’s ports are checked against watchlists before arrival. The UK Border Agency receives their details in advance from shipping agents and will refuse entry to anyone with no right to be here.”
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