Yes We CAN Have Stronger Border Controls

I have heard and read about the perceived weakness of our country’s borders. Some of it from people who have guarded our borders, some from politicos and some from well-meaning commentators.

Well I think I can add a little bit of reality to the debate based on my own, personal experiences.

In 2005 my wife and I decided to up sticks and go and live in France.  As you all know France is part of the EU as is the UK. I have seen many arguments along the line of “we can’t do that, we’re all members of the EU”. The reality was that because we wanted to do things properly and become lawful residents of France we had to jump through a few hoops.

Firstly, and most important to the current discussions, we had to prove to the French Administration that we were not going to be a ‘burden on the State’. In other words we had to prove that we had sufficient income to support ourselves and would not be claiming benefits.

Around 2007 Sarkozy made it even more difficult to settle in France by placing draconian conditions on who could access their Health System and how.  Many ex pat Brits undergoing treatment for serious illnesses such as cancer were forced to sell up and return to the UK.  I don’t recall our government making a fuss about this and Sarko got his way.

We had to renounce our membership of the NHS in order to live in France and if we were taken ill on one of our return visits to the UK we were treated like any other foreign visitor and required to pay, or produce Insurance.

Despite the myth of unfettered travel across EU Borders, the reality was somewhat different. At various times we were stopped by French officials and questioned, had passports checked, and occasionally our vehicle was physically searched, despite being on EU plates. Even driving a French-registered vehicle provided no immunity once they realised we were not French.

On at least three occasions we had our vehicle (twice UK registered and once French registered) physically checked for traces of explosives! and this by Armed Officers, not exactly a polite chat, or ignoring Border crossings. The French are not renowned for their sense of humour, and ‘take no shit’.

So much for weak Border Controls.

I firmly believe that if our government was serious about maintaining the security of our Borders it can be achieved without violating any EU laws.

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7 thoughts on “Yes We CAN Have Stronger Border Controls

  1. Could….if they wanted to. My. Ex was a Police Sgt seconded to the Border Agency. He described the whole thing as ‘farce from the top down’.

  2. Alan,

    There is simply no capability or will to do this. There is an ample supply of “soundbites” and endless legislation to pretend we can and we will.

    Sometimes I visit the USA, which has reinforced its border controls since 9/11, it still has millions of illegal entrants and even they have found capability and will are NOT the complete answer.

  3. Pingback: Yes We CAN Have Stronger Border Controls | Poli...

  4. There is no will to make our border security better. They only give sound bites when the sh1t hits the fan. They laid off thousands of staff when they knew industrial action was looming and the Olympics were approaching fast. Then re-hired staff on short term contracts paying them a small fortune.

    Then the passport border checks were stopped as it got too busy. The gov don’t like queues for some reason. They blamed the BF boss and sacked him. He very quickly produced the email from the Gov telling him to do exactly that. Funny how that went quiet as they paid him a very large golden handshake.

    They reduce BF numbers to the minimum and expect that security will improve. How exactly can that be achieved? Especially with increased migration and more freight than we can handle!

    Like all public service, emergency or security forces the Gov strip them to the bare minimum and claim they will work smarter not harder. Tossers, what an insult to all the people working their butts off just to make it work.

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