DUMFRIES and Galloway MP Russell Brown has expressed his dismay at shock figures which reveal an 80 percent hike in numbers of illegal immigrants coming through Galloway’s ports since 2009.
The figures, revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request to Dumfries and Galloway Police, show that in 2011, 120 illegal entrants were detained at the ports of Loch Ryan (formerly Stranraer) and Cairnryan. This has increased by almost 80 percent from 67 in 2009.
Compared to the same period, the proportion of people being checked passing through the ports has dropped by a fifth, from around two percent to just 0.4 percent.
The MP said: “The Galloway Ports have been hit by a double whammy of cuts from both UK and Scottish Governments. This shocking revelation that the number of illegal entrants detected at the ports has rocketed by 80% in three years proves beyond doubt that their cuts were reckless, misjudged and downright dangerous. They underestimated the threat and we are now seeing the consequences.
“The cuts in police numbers at the ports mean they are stopping a far smaller proportion of people than they have done in the past, but the number of illegal entrants they are finding has soared. It’s clear these figures are just the tip of the iceberg of the illegal immigration issue. My fear is how many people are getting through undetected and it presents a clear national security issue.
“By both cutting ports police, both the UK and Scottish Governments are to blame for the current situation. I have written to both the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, calling for an urgent joint government investigation into the border security arrangements at the Galloway Ports. People are fed up of one Government blaming another and both have to take responsibility for our safety and security. I want to see both UK and Scottish Governments working together to plug this hole in our security as it is an utter scandal that this has been allowed to continue for so long.”