A public consultation conducted by the Department of Home Affairs has revealed broad support for the introduction of border identity checks for people travelling to and from the Isle of Man by sea.
The majority of respondents were in favour of additional measures being put in place at Manx ports to strengthen efforts to protect the Isle of Man and its people.
The Department has today, Friday 20 January 2017, published the summary of responses to its consultation in principle.
People entering and leaving the Island via sea ports are currently not required to produce photographic identification. The consultation sought the views of the public on whether this needs to change to aid the detection of criminal and terrorist-related activity, such as drug smuggling and money laundering.
There was a strong response to the public consultation, with 973 submissions received via an online questionnaire and another 115 by email or letter.
The Department has said it will take these comments into account during further consideration of the issue with its partner agencies, businesses and passenger transport organisations. Any potential changes in the Isle of Man will also be viewed in the context of the United Kingdom’s approach to border security following the decision to leave the European Union.
Home Affairs Minister Bill Malarkey MHK said:
‘The public consultation achieved its intention of stimulating public discussion and I wish to thank everybody who provided feedback. We were aware of strong feelings on both sides of this issue, so it was important to hear people’s views. The majority of those who wrote to us or completed the online survey supported the idea of introducing ID verification at our ports as a way of combating criminal activity and the threats the world at large is facing. This was balanced against concerns over the potential inconvenience to ferry passengers and impact on the local economy.’
Minister Malarkey added:
‘It is clear that further consideration is required to enable the Department to make an informed decision on whether or not to take this proposal forward. We will continue to work with relevant parties, as well as to monitor developments locally and internationally.’