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Dover MP Charlie Elphicke likens border force proposals to TV show Dad's Army

By Paul Francis

A suggestion that volunteers could be recruited to bolster border controls around the UK’s ports has been likened by a Kent MP to having a “Dad’s Army” to help.

The Home Office has confirmed there are plans under consideration for "Border Force Special Volunteers" to be used at small air and sea ports.

A Home Office spokesman said it was "considering the potential benefits" and looking at how they are used by police forces.

Captain Mainwaring, Sgt Wilson, Corporal Jones and Private Godfrey in Dad's Army
Captain Mainwaring, Sgt Wilson, Corporal Jones and Private Godfrey in Dad's Army

The force would police smaller marinas, harbours and airfields but would have no powers to make arrests.

A trial involving around 50 volunteers patrolling around the coast of the east of England is planned, according to the Mail On Sunday.

Dover Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke gave a cool response, saying: "We can't have a Dad's Army-type of set-up."

He added the government should proceed cautiously “before seeking to adopt a model like that used by the police, with special constables".

MP Charlie Elphicke
MP Charlie Elphicke

"Border security is a skilled job, which takes many years of training," he added.

Unions were equally underwhelmed. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, called the plan ridiculous.

"Border Force are already using poorly trained seasonal workers at most ports and airports, not just at peak periods but throughout the year because of permanent staff cuts," he said.

"The plans to use volunteer Border Force specials is a further move towards casualisation of the workforce."

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