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What do customs officers do?

Customs officers ensure that travellers who enter or leave the country do so within the law, while also making sure that they don’t arrive or leave with banned items.

Officers work to combat the illegal trade

They are stationed in airports, seaports, and major entry points. Daily duties in combatting the illegal trade include searching luggage, any vehicles that arrive, and travellers and holidaymakers. Customs officers will also check customs documents to make sure the travellers are authorised to enter the country, and they may be required to question people who are discovered to be carrying prohibited items. Customs officers at seaports ensure that the cargo hold is storing what it says on the documents.

Other duties include making arrests, charging people and writing reports and witness statements. They may also take on more specialist roles, such as dog handling or surveillance and undercover work; searching for contraband such as drugs or guns; and looking out for goods such as fine art that are subject to tax. During personal searches of luggage, customs officers may encounter personal items, and they must take care to guard the person’s dignity at all times. They may also be required to attend court as a witness and work with other agencies, such as the Home Office and the police.

More than 500 customs officers to be recruited

Customs will confiscate banned items it seizes from travellers. If you believe that customs seized your belongings erroneously, you will have to attend a court hearing. This applies to a variety of items, including packages in the post. 

According to daily newspaper The Irish News, the Dublin government is planning to take on more than 500 customs officers in preparation for the departure of the UK from the EU without a trade deal.

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