Police chief slams Border Agency
THE chief constable of Dumfries and Galloway police has condemned a move by the UK Border Agency to cut funding for three police officers at Stranraer Port.
Chief constable Pat Shearer spoke on Newsnight Scotland this week and said he was "at a loss" over the decision, especially after bosses had acknowledged the port is an easy entry and exit point for illegal immigrants and other criminals.
With around two million people passing through the Galloway ports of Stranraer and Cairnryan each year, Mr Shearer said the need to police them was ever increasing.
He added: "They (the bosses] acknowledged in our discussions with them earlier on this year that there was a need to increase that resource, so I cannot understand why they are effectively walking away from the problem."
The UK Border Agency say their operation will be conducted from Northern Ireland where they have more resources to work with.
Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill also condemned the decision, saying it had been made without discussion.He said: "I regret the action they have taken because it affects the security of Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom.
"It does seem to me that Scotland is having to deal with matters that currently are reserved to Westminster.
"We are having to provide our police resources for matters that should be funded and provided by them."
Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland, said: "Stranraer port is one of the main entry-exit points into Scotland and roughly two million people pass through every year. It seems at odds with the realities of day to day border control activities that the Border Agency should reduce the number of police officers to zero by the end of the year.
"I have written to the UK Border Agency urging officials to reconsider this decision."
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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