THERESA May is facing calls to set up a new Home Guard to protect Britain’s borders after it was claimed coastal security is “almost non-existent”.
The demand comes just days after the National Crime Agency warned that criminal gangs are increasingly turning to “less busy ports” in northern England in a bid to evade detection.
Some people smugglers have gone as far north as Hull and Immingham on the River Humber in an attempt to sneak desperate migrants into Britain.
Now Conservative MP Martin Vickers has written to the Home Secretary to demand that border security is beefed up to protect the country’s smaller ports, such as Immingham in his constituency, as he urged her to consider creating a modern day Dad’s Army.
Volunteer coastguards with some powers might be the way forward
Chris Hobbs, Metropolitan Police Special Branch
Mr Vickers told the Sunday Express a new Home Guard “is something that should now be considered, given immigrants’ desperate efforts”.
Border Force is reportedly facing cuts of £88million and becoming increasingly overstretched amid claims officers from smaller ports and airports are being drafted in to help cut queuing times at the country’s major airports.
Last night Chris Hobbs, a former Metropolitan Police Special Branch officer who worked in border control, warned this had left coastal defences “almost non-existent”.
“When you cut off one entry point the smugglers look elsewhere and the Border Force is so thinly spread it has little idea what’s coming in and where.”
Mr Hobbs added: “Volunteer coastguards with some powers might be the way forward.”
There are already some coastal watches in operation manned by volunteers linked to Project Kraken, a neighbourhood watch-style operation aimed at increasing public vigilance on coastal and maritime security.
Amid the current terrorism threat there have been repeated calls to resurrect the Home Guard, an army of 1.5 million volunteers set up to defend Britain between 1940 and 1944.
BBC sitcom Dad’s Army gently poked fun at the Home Guard during its hugely popular series between 1968 and 1977.