Border staff face curb on holidays in the event of a no-deal Brexit

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Border Force staff could face having time off blocked if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

Proposals were reportedly sent to home secretary Sajid Javid as the government explores emergency arrangements for a no-deal scenario.

Under one option, time off would be blocked for officers in the four weeks from March 24 - five days before the official leave date, according to the Sun.

Then staff would be able to take leave over the Easter period but only in exceptional circumstances, the paper reported.

Another approach would be for a two-week ban on holidays followed by six weeks of restrictions.

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Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office.

Its 8,000 officers are responsible for securing the UK border and controlling migration at 138 ports and airports domestically and overseas.

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After Brexit, the agency will be tasked with implementing any changes to immigration and customs checks.

A report from the Commons Home Affairs Committee earlier this year warned that there are "real concerns" that Border Force would struggle to cope with an expansion of its activities.

Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the Immigration Services Union, said it has "repeatedly warned Border Force about the impact of reducing staff numbers, both on staff welfare and on the ability to secure the border effectively".

She said a promised recruitment drive is "not sufficient to support the border this summer, let alone in the event of not gaining a transitional period as part of negotiations".

The Home Office said it was recruiting an additional 300 Border Force officers to prepare for the day the UK leaves the EU.

Separately, there is an ongoing campaign to recruit up to 1,000 personnel.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have made significant progress in negotiations and are confident of securing a deal with the EU.

"However, it is the duty of any responsible government to prepare for every eventuality, including the unlikely scenario that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal."

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