Ports policing to be discussed

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown is set to meet Scotland Office Minister David Mundell at Stena Line’s port in Cairnryan on Wednesday, July 25.

The MP said the minister will have “serious questions to answer” about cuts imposed at the ports and “better not come empty-handed”.

He claimed that within weeks of the general election in 2010 the Tory-led government cut the funding for three seconded police officers at the Galloway ports.

Since then the number immigration offenders using the ports as an entry point into the UK has soared. An official UK Border Agency report published last week showed that in 2011 a total of 281 immigration offenders were detected at the Scottish and Northern Irish sea ports, an 77% increase on the previous year.

Following confirmation of the date of Mr Mundell’s visit to Stena Line’s port in Cairnryan, Mr Brown said: “This was a reckless decision that ignored almost all the advice at the time. Since then the number of immigration offenders using the Galloway ports has soared. The route through the Galloway Ports has long been known as a soft touch for illegal immigrants, but the reckless cuts by both UK and Scottish governments opened the already ajar door even wider.

“It has taken two years for a government minister to even have the decency to visit the ports. Mr Mundell has serious questions to answer about his government’s cuts.

“Mr Mundell better not come empty-handed, because a talking shop or photo opportunity won’t do. Local people have waited long enough for the Tory-led government to notice that we have a serious problem. We need Mr Mundell to pledge serious action that will make a difference. That means reversing their cuts and increasing the resources available to help the police at the ports.”