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‘Degradation of border security’ under ‘no-deal’ Brexit, warns UK Border Force



Border Force planning for a possible “no-deal” Brexit warns the government of “significant outbound queues” at the Eurostar and a “degradation of border security”.

In a leaked presentation, the key Home Office agency admits for the first time it will not be able to distinguish between EU residents and new EU arrivals.

It says there is the possibility of “disruption”, “loss of data” and an “additional clandestine threat” emerging from less co-operation with EU nations.

The no-deal plan – which would come in if the UK leaves the EU with no agreements on a future relationship – also assumes that UK citizens will no longer have access to “e-gates” when travelling to the EU, but EU citizens coming to the UK will be allowed access.

It also details proposals to introduce customs controls and abolish blue channels for UK passengers arriving back from the EU.

Sky News has obtained the full presentation from the Border Force, titled “EU Exit assumptions – NO DEAL”, and marked “Official – Sensitive”.

UK Border Force presentation
The presentation warns of ‘loss of data’

A government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked documents.

“We have set our no-deal planning assumptions for the border in December and the government has been planning for some time for all potential outcomes.”

On Monday, Sky News revealed a leaked government document which predicted freight capacity at Dover could be reduced by up to 87% following a no-deal Brexit.

According to the same Border Force document, there could be a range of impacts on foreign travel if the UK left the EU without an agreement in 68 days.

These include:

:: Safety & Security

“Loss of data and access to a number of key systems” that “we rely on” including “some frontline operational capability” due to loss of EU systems under a no-deal Brexit.

It reveals the Border Force will have to rely on inferior Interpol data systems instead of the SIS2 database.

:: Britons travelling abroad may face questions at passport check points and could no longer use e-gates

Whereas the UK will continue to allow EEA nationals travelling here to use e-gates and plan no routine “intentions checking” questioning, EU countries “will impose full Schengen Border Controls on passengers”.

UK Border Force presentation
The ‘blue exit’ could be removed

This could mean UK passengers would no longer be able to use e-gates and may be subject to intentions checking – a series of questions asking about why the passenger is travelling.

:: Disruption to commercial flight schedules and flights arriving out of sequence

According to the document, a no-deal Brexit “would likely lead to disruption to commercial flight schedules, leading to flights arriving out of sequence and contributing to queues building at major airports [and] significant outbound queues at St Pancras”, where the Eurostar departs London.

:: A “surge in non-EU” migrants coming to the UK because of a reduction in the pound

The document warns that this may happen before day one of a no-deal Brexit, as travel to the UK for people outside of the EU becomes cheaper as the pound weakens.

The document also explains that under a no-deal Brexit, officers at the border “won’t be able to differentiate between existing residents and new arrivals” from the EU/EEA.

And the document appears to suggest that even though the government will claim EU freedom of movement has ended, even new arrivals will be allowed to work and study.

In addition, the “blue exit” for passengers arriving from the EU will be removed and passengers with chargeable items will have to go through the “red channel” unless they pre-register goods with a new “Digital Declaration service”.

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