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Government seeks to tighten Port Security

Thursday, 21 December 2023

Port security

The Government is developing measures to tackle threats to the Island’s safety and security coming through vulnerable entry points.

There is growing evidence that Criminal networks are seeking greater exploitation of the Isle of Man’s limited border controls and identity checks to import drugs, criminal property and weapons.

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said: ‘The Isle of Man is the safest place to live in the British Isles, something we wish to protect. But we cannot afford to be complacent and must accept that there are individuals who come to our Island to do harm.  We know where our weaknesses are, and it is now time for the Council of Ministers to take action and keep our Island safe.

‘Our sense of safety and community are treasured aspects of Manx life. The controls being considered aim to secure our borders from criminal exploitation, while still protecting residents’ rights to free movement within the Common Travel Area.’

The Council of Ministers has agreed to take action to address these threats. Officers from the different law enforcement agencies and across Government are making practical changes to improve security at our points of entry.

Immediate changes will see the Passport, Immigration and Nationality function moving from Cabinet Office to the Treasury. This will allow the Immigration and Customs teams to work even more closely, for more effective joint enforcement.

Council has also agreed in principle to review the Ports policing functions of the Department of Infrastructure.

Officers are also developing options to improve active controls at sea ports, a more consistent approach to private aircraft route and passenger information logging, and the monitoring of wider parcel and courier services to deter the importation of drugs and other illegal items.

Other enhancements currently under consideration include the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) at ports, better sharing of sea passenger manifest data with law enforcement agencies, and updated x-ray scanning equipment for parcels.

Following recent investigations into organised immigration crime, the Government is also working on the extension of the UK Modern Slavery Act to the Isle of Man, and undertaking a review of the Immigration Worker (Seasonal) Migrant Route.

This work will help move towards the vision as set out in the Island Plan, of a secure, vibrant and sustainable Island.

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