Border Force: Coaches and Cars

The Challenge

There were 68,893 coaches cleared to enter the UK via sea and railports between April 2017 and March 2018. It is projected that by 2030 there will be 450 million people, as well as over 960 million tonnes of freight, entering the UK.

Border Force is mandated to carry out checks on every person that crosses the UK border. These checks can be resource intensive and time consuming and can result in long queues of passengers and vehicles awaiting clearance.

One of the most pressing security challenges occurs when processing and clearing cars and coaches at sea and rail ports. Currently all passengers disembark and are checked separately.

JSaRC’s remit on this project was to find a potential solution that would allow for more effective processing and clearing of coach and car traffic at rail and train border crossings. The overall aim is to assist Border Force in improving customer experience and reducing the time taken to cross the border.


Solutions implemented

After a successful initial call out to industry, JSaRC held a demonstration of 2 solutions at the Security & Policing Event 2018. We provided a Live Immersive Feature, in which visitors could walk through and see the security solutions being trialled.

The focus of the trials was to show how innovative technology solutions could provide Border Force with a faster and more secure way of processing cars and coaches, whilst ‘washing the data’ against a database. This would help to avoid the backlog and a bottleneck of vehicles entering the UK.

Currently there are constraints on the system; for example, all inbound passengers must have their passports opened and scanned, which does not allow for high volumes of people to be cleared efficiently in a less resource intensive way.

Whilst innovative technologies are becoming more and more available, their adoption has been limited. This is partly due to a lack of understanding of what these technologies bring, but also how they are used in the real world.



The demonstration of the solutions provided a much-needed insight into how developments in security technology can effectively and proportionately reduce the time taken to process and clear vehicles without further inconveniencing passengers.

After successfully presenting proof-of-concept solutions at the Security & Policing Event to industry partners and other government agencies, trials were run in late 2018.


From an industry perspective, the raised awareness of the security products (as well as improved visibility of the solutions) can be considered a success.

Border Force were able to see practically what technology can do to facilitate an easier and more streamlined border crossing process. The automatic information sharing system would enable Border Force to make better decisions before arrival.

It was felt that the trials provided useful information about Border Force’s procurement of new systems at maritime and rail ports, how this fits in with mobile initiatives and the strategic long term vision for future border management.

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