26th August, 2014
Operating an effective system to prevent the carriage of clandestine entrants
In recent months we have seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries from hauliers relating to clandestine entry (a person who hides in or on a vehicle to avoid going through UK border control).
Where an operator’s vehicle is found to contain clandestine entrants, the UK Border Force can impose a civil penalty upon the operator and the driver of up to £2,000 for each clandestine entrant found in the vehicle. Operators should be aware that they are jointly and severally liable for the penalties imposed on the driver so if the driver cannot pay the penalty, the operator will have to pay the driver’s fine as well.
There is a defence to being caught with clandestine entrants in the vehicle. In order
to satisfy this, the Company must show:-
1) that the Company was unaware that the clandestine entrant was in the vehicle and there were no reasonable grounds for suspecting that a clandestine entrant was in the vehicle;
2) that there was an effective system in place for preventing the carriage of clandestine entrants,
3) that the system was being operated properly at the time of the breach.
Whilst each Company should tailor its security procedures to suit its own need, the following 4 steps should always be followed by operators to ensure that clandestine entrants do not access their vehicles and so that, if their vehicles are breached, they can rely on the above defence.
Employers must provide driver training on how to prevent the carriage of clandestine entrants and they must introduce a checklist system whereby drivers complete the checklists at various stages throughout the vehicle’s journey and certify that they have made all the required checks. Employers must be able to provide written evidence of the training, for example, a sheet signed by the driver confirming he has received specific training in this area. A copy of the training material should be given to each driver and a copy of the Company’s clandestine entrant procedure must be stored in each vehicle cab along with the driver handbook. The operator must collect and keep all checklists and any driver who does not follow the operator’s procedure on the prevention of clandestine entrants (e.g. does not complete the checklist) should be disciplined. Annual refresher training should also be given.
A driver must be satisfied that the vehicle contains no illegal entrants before securing the vehicle. A driver should supervise the loading of his vehicle so he can be sure that no clandestine entrants have entered it. A driver should also personally check that the vehicle and any containers do not contain any unauthorised persons before they are sealed. The security checklist must include a section to cover the loading of the vehicle which must be completed immediately after loading.
Secure your vehicles
The UK Border Force advises drivers to secure their vehicles using a padlock, seals and tilt cord and to check vehicles after each stop. They advise that drivers should physically pull the security devices to ensure they are intact and look underneath the vehicle and on top of it. If the vehicle cannot be secured by lock, seal or other security device, it will be up to the driver to establish alternative arrangements to prevent unauthorised entry and to record the steps taken and the checks made. The security devices must be checked and noted on the checklist before the vehicle leaves its loading point, after every stop and before checking in at Calais.
Every time the vehicle stops en route to the United Kingdom, it must be checked by the driver to ensure that it has not been breached, particularly when left unattended. The checks should then be recorded on the vehicle security checklist. Ideally, the document should be endorsed by a third party who has either witnessed or carried out the checks himself by arrangement with the owner, hirer or driver. The report detailing the checks that were made must be carried with the vehicle at all times.
For more information on this and other haulage issues, please contact Keith McKinney on 01244 405410 or email [email protected]