BORDER MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OPERATIONS
In the era where the world has become a small village, borders still matters to us as they serve a wide range of functions across the areas of security, economics, politics, and social interactions. Despite the contemporary challenges to countries, borders still define areas of legal competence. Borders are physical boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments. Borders are often described as the outer cover of a state that protects the territory it encloses by permitting the movement of people, goods and ideas, while at the same time functioning as a barrier to harmful elements.
Sierra Leone Borders are mostly porous across the country. These borders have long been a conduit for illegal trade and irregular migration. Currently, the poor management of these borders allows human trafficking/smuggling, drugs, arms and criminals to freely travel across them which have been a major cause of national insecurity. The number of border crossing points totaled over 800 with very few manned and the greater quantity unmanned which has the potential of growing in the dry season.
Sierra Leone is a developing country just from war with a battered economy and unemployment, and so cannot afford the luxury of uncontrolled immigration with porous borders. Every nation has the right recognized by both international and domestic law, to secure its borders and ports of entry and thereby control goods and persons coming and leaving its territory.
Immigration officers play a critical role in enhancing the national security of any country and the integrity of its legal immigration system. The immigration officer is the main and first point of contact between the immigrants and the security and public safety machinery of the state and therefore play critical role in enhancing Protection, Facilitation and National Security. Immigration Restriction Ordinance, 1947, Chapter 86 clearly gives the immigration officers powers to perform their duties and responsibilities unimpeded in and along borders across the country.
OBJECTIVE OF THE BORDER MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL DIRECTORATE
The objective is to ensure the security of all entry and exit border crossing points including land, air and coastal borderlines against illegal entry and exit by cross border criminals. To achieve its vision, the directorate has set for itself three strategic objectives and these are as follows:
1) Manage and Promote Migration in the interest of the nation by promoting migration that contributes to the economic, social and developmental concerns of Sierra Leone and the communities residing therein.
1) Strengthen border security and safety by preventing, detecting and deterring border crossings at unauthorized routes, detecting and stopping threats at entry and exit points.
2) Promote National Security and defend against Immigration Crimes: defend against irregular migration, tackling immigration crimes, collaborating with other border security agencies and working with neighbouring countries to improve the quality of operations.
BORDER MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL DIRECTORATE
2018-Director Border Management and Control-Immigration Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Sierra Leone
• Check, monitor and collect data on immigrants and emigrants for record and security purposes
• Examine and endorse documents of travellers to ascertain their eligibility for entry into the country
• Supervise staff to ensure security processes and objectives have been followed and achieved respectively
• Facilitate the issuance and renewal of entry visas and residence permits
• Provide weekly/monthly reports to inform directorate on the general security situation at the borders
• Attend meetings, seminars, workshops and perform any other duty assigned
Border Management and Control Unit is determined to embark on the subsequent policy actions in the bid to effectively and efficiently carry out its duties and responsibilities. The policy actions subsume the following:
Secure Sierra Leone’s Borders (Land, Sea and Air)
Strengthen Border Management and Control
Training and Capacity Building of Personnel
Establish Community Relations with Community People and Border Communities
Enhance Better Intra-Agency, Inter-Agency Cooperation, Coordination and Collaboration
Engender Cooperation and Assistance from International Organizations, International Community and the Private Sector
Engagement and Healthier Placement of Border Patrol Officers
Review of Migration Policy and Repeal of weak and Untenable Immigration Laws.
Border Management and control plays a critical role in securing our land, sea and air borders against all threats. Border Management and control, apply information, integration and to respond rapidly in the most targeted, effective, and efficient manner in order to:
• To implement policies, programs and strategies on management and control of border crossing points.
• To develop and ensure compliance with standards on management of border operations.
• To analyze trends on cross border movement of persons and goods and monitor and evaluate programs and strategies on border security, management and control.
• To develop communication system for border management and control.
• To ensure that irregular movement of persons through unapproved routes is reduced to the barest minimum, so as to effectively fight the incidence of Human Trafficking/smuggling and Terrorism.
• To ensure that prohibited and wanted persons do not enter or leave the country undetected.
• Protecting and facilitating the movement of genuine travelers and providing a barrier and disincentive to illegal immigrants and those seeking to be in breach of immigration laws.
• Prevent and detect criminal offences and detect and apprehend the perpetrators thereof.
Policy Action: Strengthen Border Management and Control
• To encourage the use of technology at border crossing points
• Smart, innovative solutions that enable us to handle more passengers, through quicker and more efficient procedures such as ABC gates.
• To provide means of transportation (vehicular/motor bike) for surveillance and border patrols
• To strengthen and support leadership on operations of border security, management and control
• To succeed in border security, border management and control must continue to evolve and improve, as patrolling of the country’s frontiers is necessary to ensure border security and territorial integrity is maintained.
• To combat human trafficking/smuggling, arms smuggling, drug trafficking, smuggling of contrabands and terrorism.
• To detect National Security threats through the surveillance and patrols of land and sea borders and to some extent air borders.
Policy Action: Training and Capacity Building of Personnel
Training and capacity building includes workshops, conferences and seminars internally as well externally. The Border Management and Control will grow and mature its institutional capabilities by:
• Build capacity for all border patrol officers/guards and conduct border operations and assessments.
• To strengthen its investment in its people and capabilities through improved education, training, and support of Border personnel.
• To reinforce employee support initiatives and programs that continues the mandate of the border management and control.
• Addressing threats to organizational integrity and remaining vigilant in training and promoting initiatives to combat cross border crimes.
Policy Action: Establish Community Relations with Community People and Border Communities
Border Committee is a platform where partner government agencies and the community work together with objective of facilitation, protection and securing the border.
• To engage border communities on border security, management and control.
• To help in enhancing community collaboration, cooperation and promote the sharing of information.
• To increase Community Engagement: Border Management and Control will continue to use its collective capabilities to engage and educate the public about border activities.
• Border Management and Control can influence the critical assistance of border communities.
• To reduce Crime and Violence: engagement by Border Management and Control with the public can lower crime and reduce violence.
Policy Action: Enhance Better Intra-Agency, Inter-Agency Cooperation, Coordination and Collaboration
• Intra-agency coordination mechanisms can also serve as instruments of control in the presence of information asymmetries. Such tools may be used by agency heads to discipline appointed subordinates or resistant career staff.
• Inter-agency cooperation usually describes a more reactive approach. Agencies deal with incidents as they occur and try to work together as-needed in a professional manner.
• Inter-agency cooperation is necessary to improve effectiveness and efficiency as well as to avoid the duplication of work in maintaining and enhancing National Security.
• Inter-agency collaboration promotes greater efficiency in service delivery, improves the role definition of participating agencies, improves the quality and quantity of program information, and minimizes political damage from reduced funding
Policy Action: Engender Cooperation and Assistance from International Organizations, International Community and the Private Sector
• Request help from the International Organizations, International Community and the Private Sector
• To provide a thorough assessment of the current status of borders around the country
• To provide necessary assistance where need be.
Policy Action: Engagement and Healthier Placement of Border Patrol Officers
• Increase the number of personnel along the borders and across the country.
• The border patrol officers need systems that take over simple tasks enabling them to focus on the overall process of entry – exit.
• Our nation’s first line of defense against unauthorized migration need to be spread evenly across the borders of the country.
• To detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, human trafficking and smuggling, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers and other criminals along the border.