South Scotland

Cairnryan immigration 'burden' fuels policing plea

Border Agency staff
Image caption The UK Border Agency cut funding for some officers at the port last year

Dumfries and Galloway's Chief Constable has said a bid to increase policing at the Cairnryan ferry port is driven by a rise in immigration offences.

Patrick Shearer has asked the Scottish government to pay for four additional officers for the site.

They would replace a small number of officers lost last year when the UK Border Agency cut funding.

Mr Shearer said a refocus of security operations to Northern Ireland had not eased the "burden" on his force.

Talks were held late last year about sea crossing security between Scotland and Northern Ireland after the opening of the new Stena Line facility near Cairnryan.

Police in Dumfries and Galloway now hope to put additional officers in place.

"Despite the UKBA activity over on the Northern Ireland side we are seeing a significant increase in activity and cases we are identifying in relation to immigration matters," Mr Shearer said.

"It is a significant burden on our operation there.

"We have, on the back of that, submitted another bid to the Scottish government through the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland for increased funding for another four officers.

"We have yet to see whether that will be successful, but all indications are that we will get a fairly favourable response."

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