Justice Secretary says security at sea crossings is paramount

Stena Line have opened a new port facility on Loch Ryan (Picture by Marcusroos)

SECURITY at Scottish sea crossings will continue to be kept under review, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said today.

It follows his meeting with Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) at Stena Line’s new Loch Ryan Port facility.

At the meeting, Mr MacAskill sought assurances from all concerned that ports in Scotland and Northern Irelandwill continue to be policed robustly following the removal of UKBA support at sea crossings in Dumfries and Galloway.

And he welcomed a commitment from the UKBA to support intelligence-led operations at Loch Ryan.

The Justice Secretary also promised to consider a bid from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary for extra police officers to cover the port.

He said: “Security at our sea crossings is paramount and police on both sides of the water do an excellent job keeping our ports secure.

“However since the withdrawal of UK Border Agency support in Stranraer, I am keen to ensure that police are not put under additional pressure due to routes betweenNorthern Ireland and Scotland being exploited.

“Today I sought assurances that ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to be policed robustly and arrangements kept under review.

“And I welcome the UKBA’s commitment to support intelligence-led operations on this side of the water.

“The Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Assembly, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the PSNI will work together with the UK Border Agency to ensure our security is not compromised.”