Border guard

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Not to be confused with Immigration officer.
This article is about border guards in general. For specific agencies, see Border Guard (disambiguation).
For other uses of "Border Patrol", see Border Patrol (disambiguation).
Soviet Border Troops patrol alpine section of the border, 1984.

A border guard of a country is a national security agency that performs border control, i.e., enforces the security of the country's national borders. Some of the national border guard agencies also perform coast guard (like in Germany or Ukraine) and rescue service duties.

Name and uniform[edit]

In different countries, names of particular border guard services vary significantly. The service may be called "police", "guard", "troops" or "sentinel" and the name would refer to the nation's official term for the state border - whether it is "frontier" or "border".

Most border guards of the world use dark green-coloured elements on their uniform, insignia or flags.

Tasks[edit]

Peacetime duties[edit]

Chinese border guards' booth on the sea coast in Guangdong.

During peacetime special border patrolling forces, the Border guard, mans the chain of Border Outposts which are maintained all along international borders by countries to check smuggling, infiltration by spies of untrusted neighboring countries, insurgents bent on smuggling weapons and explosives for terrorist attacks and subversive activities, illegal immigration and human trafficking etc. Patrols go out regularly from the Border outposts to patrol the international border to check illegal crossings and track any footprints of those who may have crossed over illegally or attempted to. In case intrusion by foreign elements is confirmed, it is the responsibility of the Border guard based on the post to trace the intruders by checking the nearby settlements, villages and towns and inform the law enforcement agencies, Customs and Police authorities.[1][unreliable source?][2][unreliable source?]

Chinese and Pakistani border guards at Khunjerab Pass

Typical tasks of a Border Guard are:

  • Controlling and guarding a nation's border;
  • Controlling border crossing persons, vehicles, and travel documents;
  • Preventing illegal border crossing of persons, vehicles, cargoes and other goods;
  • Controlling transportation of prohibited and limited items (e.g. weapons, ammunition, toxic substances) over the national border;
  • Supervising and controlling the observation of foreigner residence regulations, visa regime;
  • Preventing the movement of goods and other articles over national borders, bypassing the customs control;
  • Investigating cases related to offenses against the national border.

The Border Guard may also perform delegated customs and immigration control duties.

Wartime duties[edit]

During wartime however the Border guard withdraw from the Border outposts and provide assistance in a limited capacity to the country's regular army which then comes and mans all the border outposts at the international border facing the enemy neighboring country. Wartime assistance of the Border guard to the Army is essential as they are familiar with the local terrain having patrolled it on a daily basis during peacetime. During wars, Border outposts are reworked into well fortified dug-in positions from where regular Army units can operate to defend the territorial integrity of the country.[1][unreliable source?]

Border guards by country[edit]

Bangladesh[edit]

A Border Guard Bangladesh Senior Warrant Officer (left in yellow/green outfit) applies a mechanical advantage control/hold to a US Marine during training.

Border Guards Bangladesh is a paramilitary border security and anti-smuggling force under the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh. BGB can trace back its origin to the establishment of the Ramgarh Local Battalion in 1795. This force is lightly armed and although its primary duty is to protect the border, during national emergencies it can also be called upon to aid the government.

Canada[edit]

Canada Border Services Agency is a law enforcement agency of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Created in 2003, it amalgamated the enforcement activities performed by three separate government entities (Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency). Traditionally unarmed, the arming of Border Services Officers, Investigators, and Inland Enforcement Officers began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2016. Officers are found at entry points to Canada (airports, marine entry points, and land crossing points with the United States. Along with United States Border Patrol, the CBSA is responsible for guarding the longest border in the world[dubious ].

Egypt[edit]

The Egyptian Border Guard is under the control of the Ministry of Defense. The Border Guard is a lightly armed paramilitary unit of about 25,000 personnel, responsible for border surveillance, general peacekeeping, drug interdiction, and prevention of smuggling. During the late 1980s, the force was equipped with remote sensors, night-vision binoculars, communications vehicles, and high-speed motorboats.

Germany[edit]

In Germany, the Federal Police, a civilian agency subordinated to the Ministry of Interior, is - besides other duties - responsible for border control tasks.

Until 2005, the Federal Police was called Federal Border Guard, and originally was a paramilitary organisation, but had its military rank structure changed into a civilian one in the 1970s and lost its wartime combatant status in the 1990s.

Hong Kong[edit]

Border guards in Hong Kong consists of two civilian agencies:

  • Customs and Excise officers handling customs duties at ports, airports and land crossing.
  • Immigration officers handle people entering ports, airport (1) and land crossings (6) with China.

Hong Kong Police Force officers patrol the border with China, but they are not border guards at entry points. Prior to 1995, this role was performed by British Army units stationed in Hong Kong.

Various police checkpoint booths (boundary crossing) are found along roads and are in the outside Closed Areas. Manned by uniformed Hong Kong Police officers, vehicle occupants must present papers and/or permits in order to proceed to the border. These officers act as informal border guards, which do not exist in Hong Kong as there is no international boundary with China.

All three border agencies are responsibilities of the Security Bureau.

Hungary[edit]

Border guard. Stamp of Hungary, 2007.

In Hungary border control belongs to police. There is no different organization for this role. Policemen serving on the border have the very same uniform as those inside the country.

Kyrgyzstan[edit]

The Frontier Forces are responsible for the border security of Kyrgyzstan. The Frontier Forces are commanded by the interior ministry, but are officially part of the military of Kyrgyzstan. They had many disagreements of the Frontier Service of Uzbekistan and had a military drill with China in August 2013.

India[edit]

A member of India's Border Security Force.

The Border Security Force (BSF) is the primary border patrol agency of the Government of India and is presently the largest Border Guarding force of the world.. Established on December 1, 1965, it is a component of the paramilitary forces of India (PMF) and its primary role is to guard India's international borders during peacetime and also prevent transnational crime. Like most paramilitary units of India, the BSF is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs and is headed by an Indian Police Service Officer. It is one of the many law enforcement agencies of India.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is an Indian paramilitary force conceived on October 24, 1962 for security along the India's border with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, border covering 2115 kilometers.

The Sashastra Seema Bal guards the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.

Israel[edit]

Main article: Israel Border Police

The Israel Border Police operates as a gendarmerie under the supervision of the Israel Police and was founded as part of the frontier corps before it became the Border Police. While its main duty is protecting the borders of Israel, it has also been deployed to be used in helping the Israel Defense Forces) in some conflicts such as the Six Day War.[3] A scandal that troubled the Israeli Border Police in 1956 was the Kafr Qasim massacre, where several Palestinian Arabs were killed by Israel Border Police.[4]

Italy[edit]

Italian Guardia di Finanza K9 unit at Malpensa airport.

In Italy the border police service is covered by the Guardia di Finanza, a branch of the Italian Army under the command of the Finance Minister; mostly, the Guardia di Finanza (or Fiamme Gialle) fight against smuggling, illegal drug trafficking, tax evasion and other financial crimes. Also, many border posts are staffed by Carabinieri. The Immigration and Border Police also performs border police duties.

Lithuania[edit]

The State Border Guard Service is the organisation charged with controlling and maintaining the Lithuanian Border. The State Border Guard Service falls under authority of the Ministry of the Interior, which supervises and controls the implementation of border guard policy.

Macau[edit]

Border patrol and immigration control in Macau are conducted by Public Security Police Force of Macau at land entries (4) with China and at Macau International Airport. Customs duties are performed by Macau Customs agency. Both border guards and customs officers are responsibilities of the Secretariat for Security.

Pakistan[edit]

Two Pakistan Rangers soldiers at Wagah border.

The Frontier Corps (FC) (Urdu: فرنٹیئرکور‎) is a federal paramilitary force recruited mostly by people from the tribal areas and led by officers from the Pakistan Army. The FC is stationed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Province, are known as FC NWFP and FC Balochistan, respectively. Both distinct provincial groups are run traditionally by an "inspector general" who is a regular Pakistani Army officer of at least major-general rank, although the force itself is part of the Interior Ministry, not the army.[5]

The Pakistan Rangers are a paramilitary force under the control of the Ministry of the Interior of the Pakistani government. In 1995 the Pakistan Rangers divided into two parts; Pakistan Rangers Punjab headquartered in Lahore, and Pakistan Rangers Sindh headquartered in Karachi. The two divisions have different uniforms and chains of command.

Russia[edit]

A border guard outpost in Dagestan, Russia

The Border Guard Service of Russia is (since 2003) an agency of the Federal Security Service. The agency considers itself a direct successor of the Soviet border troops, and regularly celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the latter (May 28, 1918).[6] This annual event, known as the Border Guards Day, is celebrated every year by the guards in active service as well as former servicemen in Moscow and throughout the country.[6]

Spain[edit]

In Spain, the paramilitary Guardia Civil is responsible for protecting the borders. There is also a specialized service of the Department of Customs and Special Taxes, the Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera, that has some general border guard duties.

Tajikistan[edit]

Main article: Tajik Border Troops

The Border Troops of Tajikistan, also called the Border Service, are part of the Military of Tajikistan and answer to the Interior Ministry. They often train with the Afghan Border Police, and jointly trained with the military of Kyrgyzstan in 2011.

Thailand[edit]

Main article: Border Patrol Police

The Border Patrol Police is Thailand's paramilitary force responsible for border security and counter-insurgency, and operates as the law-enforcement arm in conjunction with Thahan Phran, the ranger paramilitary arm of the Royal Thai Army.

United Kingdom[edit]

Border guard services are provided by the Border Force. The agency is responsible for visa controls, passport checks and customs enforcement at ports of entry into the UK, criminal cases, inland immigration enforcement.

The UK's only land border, that with the Republic of Ireland, is not regularly patrolled by the UKBA, but is the responsibility of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

United States[edit]

Border Patrol Agents with a Hummer and Astar patrol for illegal entry into U.S.

In the United States, border control is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. This jurisdictional authority is shared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (the primary inspection and enforcement component), the U.S. Coast Guard (the primary interdiction components) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the investigative component).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is composed of three distinct enforcement arms: the Office of Border Patrol (OBP, otherwise known as the United States Border Patrol), the Office of Field Operations (OFO; commonly called by its former name 'Customs') and the Office of Air and Marine (OAM). OBP is tasked with securing the international border in-between the Ports of Entry (POE) and is a mobile enforcement agency that is structured and employed like any other uniformed police department in the United States. OFO is the federal law enforcement branch tasked with administering the POE's (air, land or sea) and is responsible for determining the admissibility of all persons and goods into the United States. The OAM operates all aircraft and watercraft for CBP and coordinates their interdiction efforts with either OBP, U.S. Coast Guard and/or with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The U.S. Coast Guard is the only branch of military in the United States that is not subject to posse comitatus. The reason being that both commissioned and petty officers are considered law enforcement officers with limited customs authority pursuant to 19 USC 1401.[7] U.S. Coast Guard has jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the same authority as both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, with the added jurisdiction of investigating violations that occur at both the border and the interior of the United States.

In terms of comparison to a traditional police force, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard are analogous to the uniformed division while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would represent the detective division.

Vietnam[edit]

Vietnam Border Defense Force (Biên phòng Việt Nam) is a branch of Vietnam People's Army and is under command of Ministry of Defence (Vietnam). It has important roles in protecting Vietnam's sovereignty, maintaining security at land and sea borders. Vietnam Border Defense Force is established on 3 March 1959. It is organised into 3 levels: National Command, Provincial Command and Local Post.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Indian Bollywood film Border (1997) made with the official assistance of the Border Security Force (BSF), Indian Army and the Indian Airforce.
  2. ^ Indian Bollywood film Refugee (2000) made with the official assistance of the Border Security Force (BSF)
  3. ^ "Six Day War". Israeli-weapons.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  4. ^ Stern, Yoav (2006-10-29). "50 years after massacre, Kafr Qasem wants answers Israel News". Haaretz. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  5. ^ [1] Abbas, Hassan, "Transforming Pakistan's Frontier Corps", article in Terrorism Monitor, Volume 5, Issue 6, a publication of the Jamestown Foundation, March 29, 2007, accessed November 7, 2007
  6. ^ a b "Breaking News, Boston Weather, World and US News Stories - Get the Latest Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports". NECN. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  7. ^ United States Coast Guard

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