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Border Force staff highlight confusion on quarantine rules

Border Force staff have criticised preparations for enforcing the new quarantine rules for foreign travelers.

New arrivals at UK ports and airports must provide contact details and an address for where they will stay for the 14-day quarantine imposed as part of the COVID-19 precautions.

But Border Force staff have revealed they were left unclear on procedures after identifying significant gaps in the official guidance issued by the Home Office.

Police officers, including the 5,000 working to support the Border Force are also grappling with how to enforce against people who fail to comply with the quarantine and are risking a £1,000 fine.

Members of the ISU, the union which represents border, immigration and customs officers, said staff had expressed anger and frustration at the lack of preparation and planning for the launch.

The ISU spokesman told Police Oracle: “There was a great deal of misinformation and contradictions in the preceding week with staff being given information which was immediately contradicted.  As late as Wednesday staff were still unclear if they were to check a random sample, as we had originally been told, or 100% as appeared to emerge from PMQs that day.”

“Because the grouping increased the risk of transmission the 100% requirement was, thankfully, abandoned,” the spokesperson said. “Border Force are a disciplined professional service who pride themselves on their role in safeguarding national security.  It is frustrating to them to be asked to undertake a role which, on examination, amounts to a paper exercise with no apparent purpose or discernible result.”

One airport police officer said the new measures had not been thought through.

“This is something that should have been put in place at the beginning of lockdown not now. People seeking advice on arrival are not clear about the rules and enforcement is near-impossible,” they told Police Oracle.

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