Today I spent the day with UKBA seeing the great work they do at the docks.
The state of the nation's finances has meant wage freezes and changes to the pension scheme - as such it has also meant head count reductions in many UKBA installations.
They protect the border and do great work. Yet I needed to know more to get the arguments together to put most effectively to Ministers. What I saw gave me much helpful information. Millions and millions are saved for the Exchequer each year as smugglers are caught and their contraband confiscated. They stop booze and fags of course. But they also keep heroin and cocaine off our streets. This is important for the health of our nation. They find guns and other weapons and help smash organised criminal gangs. It was amazing to go round and see what officers did. The rummaging of lorries. The new scanning technology. The expertise they have in taking apart vehicles and putting them back together. Most of all how they know to spot in a few seconds the sort of car or lorry to stop. We have an immense reservoir of talent at our border. So much experience. We need to keep that experience and protect it. That is my aim in what I am doing to make the financial case to Ministers.
We should be really proud of the work that is done by our UKBA officers and how their works keeps us all safe. On the Calais side they have great success in stopping bogus asylum seekers. In Dover they focus on contraband. In all cases they do great and important work. We all owe them a great debt for how they keep our Borders safe and secure.
Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!