Work Ongoing to Protect Borders

The Police and Department of Home Affairs are continuing to work to prevent drugs gangs from accessing the island.

Jane Poole-Wilson has provided an update on border policing after a written question from Tanya August-Hanson MLC.

Ms August-Hanson had asked what the DHA’s vision is for policing the island’s borders and what consultation has taken place with the Constabulary.

The Minister said that the department’s role is to set the priorities, policies and objectives for the Constabulary, but has ‘no role in operational policing’.

Mrs Poole-Wilson added: ‘In the Policing Plan 2021-22, approved by Tynwald, the plan makes reference to the following objectives: Deter and prevent serious and organised crime from entering the Isle of Man. The plan also sets out a number of priority areas of focus, including working with partners, focusing on importation of drugs, reducing the harm caused to vulnerable young people by exploitation and consideration of diversionary schemes for certain possession offences.

There was full consultation with the Constabulary on this objective and approach, and the recent successful joint bid, with the Customs and Excise Division of the Treasury, for additional resource is a demonstrable outcome.’

She also confirmed that she was in ‘close consultation’ with Chief Constable Gary Roberts about criminal exploitation of the island’s borders and that the Policing Plan for 2022-23 will ‘continue to reflect the need to tackle this threat using a collaborative, intelligence led, approach’.

The state of the island’s borders since the height of the pandemic is such that people are required to show ID when arriving on Manx shores. However, it is not yet clear what form this will take come April 1 when Covid measures are due to end.

It is known that some within the gov want a return to how things used to be, i.e. minimal checks on ferries and at the airport, while others want to see a stricter system of ID checks for people travelling on and off-island.