Amber Rudd met with crew members on the coastal patrol vessel NIMROD and went out to sea to experience the vessel in action and to learn more about Border Force operations.
The Home Secretary’s visit marks the start of the deployment by Border Force of a Coastal Patrol Vessel (CPV) to the west coast of Scotland on a permanent basis.
It will, along with the other CPVs which are in operation around the UK, complement the offshore work of the longer range Border Force cutter fleet and have the added benefit of being able to work close to shore to access marinas and beaches where waters are shallow.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
I was delighted to visit Troon and to go out on patrol to see for myself how Border Force is working with local and national law enforcement partners to manage the threat to our coastline. This is the first coastal patrol vessel to operate in Scotland and will support existing maritime capabilities.
The UK government has doubled the number of coastal patrol vessels operating around the UK and now has a greater presence in Scotland than ever before, meaning we can act faster and more effectively to keep families and communities in Scotland safe.
The CPV has a 280 mile range at 20 knots and can travel at speeds of up to 32 knots. The deployment of CPVs has already led to successful operations to track and intercept those involved in criminal activity. For example, in May, a Border Force CPV intercepted a suspicious vessel approaching Hayling Island in Cornwall. The detection led to the arrest of 6 individuals on suspicion of attempting to enter the UK illegally. A further 2 individuals were arrested and charged with attempting to facilitate illegal entry into the UK. The vessels also participate in operations tackling irregular migration and drugs.
As well as carrying out regular patrols of UK waters, CPVs will act on intelligence provided by law enforcement and international partners. Additionally they will be engaged with Project Kraken which encourages the public, harbour masters and others working around the coastline of Britain to report suspicious activity on the coastline and at smaller ports.
They are just one part of the Border Force approach to security which uses a combination of state of the art detection technology, international partnership work and intelligence-based operational activity to prevent illegal activity at the border.
While in Scotland, the Home Secretary also met with front line Border Force officers at Glasgow Airport.