The slow ports of post-Brexit Britain have creates miles of backlogged lorries in Kent and beyond, with 10 new lorry parks built to ease the impact on locals and drivers. Packed with valuables and opportunities for smuggling, these mega lorry parks are a new weak link in national security.
When Brexit’s new border rules came into effect, traffic through Britain’s ports slowed to a crawl, resulting in queues of lorries stretching for miles along coast-bound motorways.
Without a place to park and secure their vehicles, lorry drivers were stuck on the side of the road with no facilities and their stock exposed to theft. In response, temporary lorry parks were hastily built near congested ports, the largest being the 66 acre site in Ashford, Kent.
These lorry parks proved controversial, with the Ashford site upsetting local residents, who did not feel informed or involved in the process of their planning and construction. Despite initially being marked as temporary, these lorry parks have since become permanent and more are on the way.
While these lorry parks were built to ease freight pressure on ports congested by post-Brexit border inefficiency, they have also proved valuable in the ongoing supply chain crisis. Without them, lorry drivers – already dissatisfied with the situation – would be back to sleeping by the side of the road.
These lorry parks are more than just a place for drivers to park up and get some R&R. They are extensions of the UK border, making them a point of vulnerability for organised criminal activity, illegal immigration and other threats to national security.
Security for such sites must be robust, well-staffed and well-equipped as lorry parks are challenging sites to secure. They have enormous perimeters, they tend to be built in low-population areas, they hold valuable stock, they require access control and remain active 24 hours a day.
As a security company with experience providing security solutions for sites of a similar scale and risk level, we advise those who manage lorry parks to establish the following security measures, as a minimum:
In addition to physical security measures, lorry parks must be secure at an organisational level, starting with the hiring process. Organised criminals are known to infiltrate border infrastructure, so make sure all employees are thoroughly vetted and reporting procedures are in place to catch suspicious behaviour.
There must also be a reporting procedure for lorry drivers using the site in case they suspect illegal activity amongst their fellow drivers. Unfortunately, there is a significant risk that lorry drivers themselves may be complicit in drug-smuggling, people-smuggling and theft.
It will take time to adjust to the hastily expanded infrastructure of the UK border. Until then, we must ensure that lorry parks do not provide opportunities for those who wish to exploit this vulnerable period of transition.
Magenta Security is well equipped to provide security staff and security consultancy to protect your people, property and assets. To learn more please call us on 0800 772 3786.
Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.
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