Border Force Officers and Assistant Officers work for Border Force, a department of the Home Office, which replaced some of the functions of the UK Border Agency. They manage UK border controls, enforcing immigration and customs regulations.
You could be:
- enforcing rules on all goods (personal and commercial) allowed to enter and leave the UK, and make sure necessary taxes are paid
- using sniffer dogs to check for concealed drugs
- operating ePassport gates and processing passengers who hold biometric passports
- operating the EU/EEA and non-EEA primary control points (manual passport control), processing passengers according to the Immigration Act
- patrolling the coastline in one of the five boats which make up the HMRC fleet of cutters
- searching people, their luggage, cars and freight vehicles, ships and aircraft to check that the goods are as stated, that the right tax is paid and that no illegal items (such as counterfeit or pirated goods, illegal drugs, obscene material, endangered plants or animals, or firearms) are being taken in or out of the country
- removing illegal items, keep records of them and hold and caution offenders
- reporting criminal matters to the police and giving evidence in court
- holding discussions with other government departments such as UK Visas and Immigration (also formerly part of the UK Border Agency).
As a Border Force Assistant Officer, you would earn around £20,500 a year. A Border Force Officer earns £23,447 to £26,966 a year (salaries are higher if based at Heathrow and Postal Langley). There are extra allowances for working shifts and unsocial hours.
- Most Border Force Officers are based at ports and airports across the UK.
- You may be out on a boat patrolling the coastline.
- You would be required to work a variety of shifts including early starts, late finishes, night shifts, weekends and public holidays.
- You have to wear a uniform.
- You may have to carry out some searches in dirty and cramped conditions.
- The job can be physically demanding.
Workforce Employment Status
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- The UK Border Force has nationality requirements. You must be a UK national and resided in the UK for the past 5 years.
- To enter as a Border Force Assistant Officer, you require 5 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths.
- To enter at officer level you must have either 3 Highers, 2 Advanced Highers or equivalent qualifications including formal and vocational training, or significant investigatory experience in a military or law enforcement environment.
- You can enter through the Civil Service Fast Stream if you have an Honours degree.
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
- A full UK driving licence is required (held for at least 12 months).
- A full and valid passport is required.
- You will require enhanced background and security checks.
- You will have to complete a health declaration, and may be asked to attend a medical examination.
- If applying for a job involving marine operations, you may need to hold a full Officer of the Watch (OOTW) Certificate of Competency or equivalent.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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What Does it Take?
You should be able to:
- work well under pressure
- gather and manage information
- make decisions
- manage difficult and challenging situations
- adapt to change
- work as part of a team.
You should have:
- excellent communication skills
- good organisational skills
- good observation skills
- good judgement
- an analytical mind and good problem solving skills
- a smart appearance.
- All new entrants must complete a probationary period. This will be the longer of six months, or the time it takes to successfully complete two of the three core skills modules within the pathway programme. It will not normally be longer than 12 months.
- If you are required to be an official driver, you will need to take an airside medical test and airside driving course.
- After your initial training, you will continue with on the job training with a mentor as well as specialist training.
- You are required to pass the level 3 personal safety training (PST) course to enable you to use handcuffs, batons and arrest and restraint techniques.
- You may be required to attend training courses anywhere in the UK.
- You would complete annual refresher training.
- With experience and ability, you may move on to become a team leader, or to other senior or management positions.
- You may move into a training position.
- You may be able to move to other departments within the Civil Service.
- You may need further qualifications and training for some jobs.
- Promotion prospects are improved if you are willing to move around the country.
There are approximately 8,000 Border Force officers working at 140 ports and airports across the UK and overseas.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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