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Outsourcing Borders

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Outsourcing Borders


The UK Home Office recently asked private companies to bid for an estimated £80 million contract to provide “40 Authorised Search Officers, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year” for the Eurotunnel, Calais and Dunkerque ports. Now, whilst this has caused quite a stir in some quarters, outsourcing roles traditionally performed by in-country border officers is nothing new, not even in the UK.

Wagtail UK have been providing Live Body Detection dog teams for UK Border Force at ports in Northern France since 2008. They provide trained dogs and handlers to detect the presence of human scent concealed in or on freight and vehicles leaving Northern France bound for the UK. Since the start of the contract they have successfully detected many thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter the UK.

The management of the detention “holding facilities” at the Eurotunnel and Dunkerque ports , is already outsourced to Tascor, a Capita plc subsidiary, as part of another mammoth border security contract for all deportation “escorting” and short term detention facilities.

The UK is not alone in outsourcing border functions to private companies. Other countries have gone much further.
In Kuwait, International Vehicle and Container Inspection Services Company (IVACIS) provides a services solution for Port, Border, Frontier and Point of Entry security inspection and screening requirements.

IVACIS begins with the primary function of conducting electronic scanning of vehicles and cargo using their own scanners, and offer a full range of inspection functionality for the detection of contraband, explosives and narcotics. They largely recruit locally and are responsible for training local staff.

IVACIS maintain a local maintenance facility, complete with the necessary spare parts and materials to ensure continuous operations.

IVACIS operate on a shared-income basis, deriving its revenue from a percentage of customs duties paid.

Kudumba has a similar approach in Mozambique. Part of the contract is to supply some of the very latest equipment and technologies. It is up to Kudumba to supply and operate the equipment at its own expense. Again Kudumba makes its revenue by collecting tariffs for its services direct from customs revenues.

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