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Wilts20

Lot of work and publicity on the Border Force (BF) recently, but as they have been around since 2012 and are still sometimes referred to as "UK Border Force", are they a 'police force', in the sense they are there to arrest smugglers, illegals, criminals etc at the border or not? 

They don't seem to have their own website (just a page: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/border-force) , like most police forces (HO or other). Some officers seem to carry batons and handcuffs and yet their boats & cutters look totally unarmed. The Home Office says: "Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office". Is there any reason they are not more of an agency, like the NCA, with their own website, social media pages, etc?

There also seems to be Immigration Enforcement (IE) who aren't really part of BF, but just do internal raids on car washes etc.

It looks like an interesting 'command', but was surprised that in this day and age they don't look a bit more like a border police force, rather than a branch of the Home Office and that they aren't called the "British Border Force" or "UK Immigration Enforcement" or something similar   Is there a main reason for this?

Cheers.

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Radman

No they are a law enforcement agency with police like powers but are technically part of the civil service (believe it or not.) 

I've said for years BF should be re-badged with its officers becoming their own constabulary with a specialist remit of securing the borders, give them all powers of a Constable under firearms act etc, allow them to have their own firearms TEAMS, to carry Tasers and PAVA to operate as a police service with a bespoke mission and jurisdiction just like we do in BTP. 

BF officer pay isn't overly fantastic either, same with the NCA, it isn't great considering the mission they undertake and whilst I'm not doing my job down I find it obscene that an NCA Agent fighting organised criminal gangs is likely paid alot less than me as a top rate PC

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Father Jack

Part of me wonders if the old customs and excise legacy has something to with it? Whilst never Police Officers, they had some extraordinary powers of entry and seizure. Perhaps the Border Force was raised with that distinction in mind?

However my gut feeling is that Border Force and Immigration Enforcement were created by the Home Office as "law enforcement" on the cheap. I would also agree with Border Force and Immigration Enforcement becoming fully warranted Police Constables, albeit specialising in their own particular duties. Rather than passing cases up to already stretched Home Office forces, every time someone tries to buy (and import) a TASER or a flick knife online. 

 

 

Edited by Father Jack
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Wilts20
Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Radman said:

No they are a law enforcement agency with police like powers but are technically part of the civil service (believe it or not.) 

I've said for years BF should be re-badged with its officers becoming their own constabulary with a specialist remit of securing the borders, give them all powers of a Constable under firearms act etc, allow them to have their own firearms TEAMS, to carry Tasers and PAVA to operate as a police service with a bespoke mission and jurisdiction just like we do in BTP. 

BF officer pay isn't overly fantastic either, same with the NCA, it isn't great considering the mission they undertake and whilst I'm not doing my job down I find it obscene that an NCA Agent fighting organised criminal gangs is likely paid alot less than me as a top rate PC

Sounds like a good idea, better than the rather odd identity they seem to have now.  Seems to work well with the US 'CBP' who are 'federal officers' (uniformed) or federal agents (investigations) and have all the kit.

Surprised about the NCA pay... 

Don't think the uniform helps much, they look like corporate stewards.

image.jpeg.b9ed84ced600e122f15d5de2b8090587.jpeg

Edited by Wilts20
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Wilts20
3 hours ago, Father Jack said:

Part of me wonders if the old customs and excise legacy has something to with it? Whilst never Police Officers, they had some extraordinary powers of entry and seizure. Perhaps the Border Force was raised with that distinction in mind?

However my gut feeling is that Border Force and Immigration Enforcement were created by the Home Office as "law enforcement" on the cheap. I would also agree with Border Force and Immigration Enforcement becoming fully warranted Police Constables, albeit specialising in their own particular duties. Rather than passing cases up to already stretched Home Office forces, every time someone tries to buy (and import) a TASER or a flick knife online. 

 

 

Possibly yes.

Not a fan of the 'law enforcement' term, doesn't seem to fit in well with Britain. The new Home Secretary has been using it a few times. It seems to imply a sort of obsession of just enforcing the law, rather than dealing with all the other problems folk bring with them to the UK.

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Wilts20

Gibraltar has an interesting setup:

HM Customs (Gibraltar) - look like the old British HMC&E officers, all customs duties

Borders & Costguard - border protection & enforcing of law & immigration checks

Gibraltar Defence Police (MOD) and Royal Gibraltar Police do maritime criminal patrols

 

 

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Radman
3 hours ago, Father Jack said:

Part of me wonders if the old customs and excise legacy has something to with it? Whilst never Police Officers, they had some extraordinary powers of entry and seizure. Perhaps the Border Force was raised with that distinction in mind?

However my gut feeling is that Border Force and Immigration Enforcement were created by the Home Office as "law enforcement" on the cheap. I would also agree with Border Force and Immigration Enforcement becoming fully warranted Police Constables, albeit specialising in their own particular duties. Rather than passing cases up to already stretched Home Office forces, every time someone tries to buy (and import) a TASER or a flick knife online. 

 

 

I think it's down to the old customs and excise legacy with again this mindset that "Well this is how it's always been done" view.

As you mentioned it isn't right that Border Force hand simple investigations over to HO forces, Infact it isn't fair that HO is expected to deal with every other government agencies unique and specialised fields variation of crime but they just seem to accept it over here. 

Funnily enough the other week we locked up for a job that occurred on our jurisdiction, we linked in with the local force and probation service to track the suspect down. Long story short I've booked the Prisoner into custody and was returning back to the BTP Office to sort paperwork out when I get a message from control that a Sergeant wants to speak to me from the local HO nick. 

I call them on my return to have a conversation with this sergeant who thinks that I was going to hand the case over to him to investigate and that there had been a "panicked phone call" from upstairs that BTP had locked up and were expecting their district to deal with it. 

I had to reassure this sergeant that we were handling the case as it was a BTP investigation and that we weren't going to be handing it over to them, he thought we'd be handing over a railway crime to him to sort. 😂

 

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Father Jack

Re reading another thread: 

It seems that some Officers are unaware of even what powers Border Force and Immigration Enforcement have to arrest and detain. Although it could be unreasonable to expect a Police Officer to know every single other agencies powers and authorities, as well as the vast number that they have to know and exercise in their own daily duties. 

Interestingly, whilst I never personally had dealings with either agencies, while serving. I was reliably informed that MDP's OSU did provide some mutual aid to Border Force, a couple of years before I joined. In the form of Officers checking passports at Calais and other sites. 

 

Edited by Father Jack
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Radman
46 minutes ago, Father Jack said:

Re reading another thread: 

It seems that some Officers are unaware of even what powers Border Force and Immigration Enforcement have to arrest and detain. Although it could be unreasonable to expect a Police Officer to know every single other agencies powers and authorities, as well as the vast number that they have to know and exercise in their own daily duties. 

Interestingly, whilst I never personally had dealings with either agencies, while serving. I was reliably informed that MDP's OSU did provide some mutual aid to Border Force, a couple of years before I joined. In the form of Officers checking passports at Calais and other sites. 

 

To be fair there is alot of ignorance surrounding powers of non-HO cops or other agencies out there, every so often I'll get asked if I'm paid the same or if I have powers off of railway by a local cop in custody or wherever (the latter being understandable given our historical powers.) 

It makes sense that MDP gets involved in border protection but they just seem hugely under utilised as a force. 

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Wilts20
5 minutes ago, Radman said:

t makes sense that MDP gets involved in border protection but they just seem hugely under utilised as a force. 

They are great when used well.

In some places (defence estates) they just seem to be there and have no real interest in policing. Difficult to find community officers online too, unlike HO and BTP (with Facebook, website contact pages etc).

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Father Jack
3 hours ago, Radman said:

To be fair there is alot of ignorance surrounding powers of non-HO cops or other agencies out there, every so often I'll get asked if I'm paid the same or if I have powers off of railway by a local cop in custody or wherever (the latter being understandable given our historical powers.) 

It makes sense that MDP gets involved in border protection but they just seem hugely under utilised as a force. 

Even some ignorance around MDP powers and jurisdiction. Unless we have an establishment on their patch, most forces never see us, unless OP TEMPERER  gets called. Then they're usually very pleased to see us.

I believe our mutual aid might have been a one off while they were recruiting. At the risk of going slightly off topic, we were definitely under utilised as a force, and I believe the force still is. We can do so much more than other forces and organisations realise. 

Edited by Father Jack
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Father Jack
3 hours ago, Wilts20 said:

They are great when used well.

In some places (defence estates) they just seem to be there and have no real interest in policing. Difficult to find community officers online too, unlike HO and BTP (with Facebook, website contact pages etc).

Agreed. There were only a handful of Defence Community Police Officer posts in the force, when I left. 

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Wilts20
3 minutes ago, Father Jack said:

Agreed. There were only a handful of Defence Community Police Officer posts in the force, when I left. 

Yes - you'll know more, but the locations PDF MDP publish has everyone going to the AWE posts first and only then can they transfer to the DCPO posts. I suppose they need armed experience, but would it not be suitable to have a two-tier (the armed route and DCPO route) so they could serve both equally?  Or is it that the protection posts are just more important that the community ones?

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