Imagine crossing the border with your daughter’s passport but only to realize that you forgot your passport back home? That’s crazy right but for Anita Turner a 58-year-old mother it was a shocking moment for her and her friends. They were five and were going on a cruise on the Belgium side from England. And they crossed several border posts without a single security guard noticing the difference between her and the passport she purported to be hers. Mrs. Turner had picked her daughter’s passports instead of hers and only realized when she was miles away at Kent Port in Dover when they were picking tickets for her and her friends.
Where it not for her friend, who noticed she had her daughter’s passport Turner wouldn’t even been aware. Having come all this way, they decide to try and use the passport. Her friend handed over the passports including Turner daughter’s passport and the staff waved them over. Moreover, the officer even directed them to the lane to use. They were shocked but went ahead. To them, it was shocking to see the laxity of the officers at the border post. They ushered them in and didn’t notice the huge difference in not only the age gap but also the pictures on the passport. The photo clearly shows she is way too old to be a 28-year-old woman on the passport.
On the drive back to England Turner thought for sure this time they will note the difference and pull them over. But on arriving at Bexhill on Sea East Sussex, nothing happened. Upon reaching the dock, she slowed down and handed over all the passports to the staff on the booth. The dock personnel requested them to roll down the window to confirm the photos on the passport where indeed of those seated in the car. The staff went ahead and called everyone’s name while comparing the photo and the person. Upon reaching Turner, the officer called her daughter’s name, and she answered yes. To her amazement the officer went back to the booth worked on something and cleared them all came back and directed them to the lane to use. To them all it was shocking and the fact that the man called out names while holding the passports it doesn’t make sense that he didn’t notice the difference. When expressing her view about the incidence, Turner said;
“It’s was shocking to all of us that I could cross borders with my 30-year-old daughter’s passport. It’s a mockery to this country as a whole that someone can easily get in and out the way I did. If I can travel with my daughter’s passport, I don’t know where we are heading?”
With Mrs. Turner back at the comfort of her home the above incidence confirms the November report which clearly states that immigrants are taking advantage of staff shortages in South England’s Sea to cross over to England. In 2017 -2018 port managers of Portsmouth, Poole, Dover, and Southampton all confirmed reports that they are understaffed. The report also mentions Dover dock among the cross border points which are exposed to risks. The reports were further confirmed by another report from Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration David Bolt who said the ports aren’t secure at all.
Since the story went viral, many are airing their views concerning the security flaws shown by the above incidence. Among those who expressed their views are Charlie Elphicke Dover MP who said;
“The incidence is shocking and is a clear indicator that we must channel more funds to help strengthen security measures in place by modernizing all our borders. Through modernization, we can easily monitor who is coming in and out. The technology will come in handy at scrutinizing all documents submitted at the border points. With modernization, we can strengthen our border security measures and seal all loopholes used by criminals to cross over to England.”
Although the Turner incidence paints a bad picture of the security personnel and measures in place at England border points, a Home Office spokespersons assured the public all personnel receive proper training. He said all personnel manning border stations are highly trained on how to check and analyze all documents coming through the border points. Furthermore as a way of preventing the deed before it’s done the Home Office carries out training of both immigrant officers and airline staff on how to do the check overseas. Through the training, the latter group will be able to stop the culprits before they start their journey. While finishing off, the home officer spokespersons said the officers have been able to prevent 159,000 people from entering England because of having faulty documents. The latter figures represent work done from April 2010 to December 2018 only.