Border Watch calls on the public to stay vigilant
The Australian Border Force (ABF) is employing the nation’s largest intelligence gathering network—the public—to identify and disrupt illegal or suspicious immigration, customs and border-related activity.
This week marks the beginning of an awareness campaign to encourage the Australian community to support the work of the ABF by reporting such activity through Border Watch.
Border Watch, and its predecessors (Customs Watch and Customs Hotline), has a proven track record of over 20 years of delivering positive outcomes at the border.
ABF Assistant Commissioner Strategic Border Command, Kaylene Zakharoff, said the campaign includes a call to action to the Australian public and industry members, who will be encouraged to flag all criminal and suspicious border-related activity through Border Watch.
“By reporting suspicious activity to Border Watch, you will be contributing to our intelligence gathering efforts and will ultimately help us investigate, detect and stop illegal activity,’ Assistant Commissioner Zakharoff said.
“The ABF has almost 6000 officers stationed across Australia, including specialist maritime officers deployed at sea, aerial surveillance officers who are our eyes in the sky and hundreds of officers living and working in regional and remote communities.
“Yet despite this broad reach, it is critical that we partner with the Australian public and industry members to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the border and keep our community safe.”
The ABF’s Border Watch currently receives more than 52,000 reports each year from industry and members of the community. These reports have been instrumental in hundreds of seizures of illicit drugs, tobacco, weapons and wildlife, as well as a number of immigration and visa related operational outcomes.
ABF Assistant Commissioner Zakharoff said that Border Watch has become an integral facet of the ABF’s information gathering methods.
“Since inception we have seen some very encouraging outcomes,” Assistant Commissioner Zakharoff said.
“We have an amazing team of highly trained and committed ABF officers across the country ready and willing to respond to any border-related criminal activity.”
“Extending the capacity of the ABF by encouraging members of the community to be our ‘eyes and ears’ will help us to detect and stop illegal border-related activity and maintain the integrity of our visa processes.”
In the 2016-17 financial year the ABF detected more than seven tonnes of major drugs and precursors, more than 380 tonnes of illicit tobacco and 1700 illegal firearms. We also located more than 15,000 unlawful non-citizens and individuals in breach of their visa conditions—including more than 2000 illegal workers.
Flag it anonymously with Border Watch at australia.gov.au/borderwatch.