WMB Group has always put measures in place to protect their trucks and drivers against illegal immigrants, but upon discovering a number of illegal immigrants in one of the fleet’s lorries at the Port of Calais in 2015, and with both the company and the driver facing huge fines, the Directors realised it was time to update the measures and ensure there were no gaps or room for mistakes.
New Truck Seals
The company has always used TIR security cord to secure their trucks, being wrapped around the truck, through the curtains and through the door handles, which was then sealed with a plastic seal. Research into seals was the first change undertaken, with the company settling on a stainless-steel seal, featuring the WMB logo and also a unique serial number.
Stainless steel was chosen as it can’t be easily stuck back together, and the damage isn’t easily hidden as with the previous plastic seals.
The seals are personalised with the WMB logo and unique serial numbers for security. Whenever a driver goes off on a job, they’re provided with the necessary number of seals to complete it, with all serial numbers being noted and allocated to the driver and the job. Every time they use a seal, they have to document it on a form.
With the final check before heading to Port, returning to the UK, not only will drivers use a seal on the backdoors, but they will also use seals on all four corners of the trailer.
Vehicle Security Checklist
The Vehicle Security Checklist is a step-by-step process for drivers to ensure that nothing is missed and everything is done correctly. It includes all the basic driver and job info, the unique serial numbers of the tags that they have to complete their job, as well as a tick list for jobs such as ‘roof checked for damage’, ‘TIR cord tight & in place & checked’ and ‘cab check’. There’s a checklist to be done after loading, for every stop during the journey (more so outside of the UK than in it) and also a final check – to be done as close as 2.5 hours away from the Port, travelling back to the UK, but no more than 4 hours before.
On the reverse of the Vehicle Security Checklist is a list of measures to be taken to secure vehicles against unauthorised entry, as per the guidelines by the Border Force.
Upon returning to the office, all seals (used and unused) and the form must be returned to the office to be submitted into the system online and for any unused seals to be accounted for.
If for any reason the driver believes that someone has got into the trailer during the journey to the Port, after doing the final check and whilst they’ve been in the cab, drivers are advised to drive straight to Port Authorities and explain the situation, thus safeguarding the driver in the process.
If all steps are followed as per the Vehicle Security Checklist, everything is documented (with photographs taken every time the inside of the trailer is physically checked, thereby date and location stamped) and the company and the driver are protected. In this instance, the only possible way in for an illegal immigrant is for them to cut the curtain of the trailer, which is going to be pretty obvious to anyone looking.