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Series / UK Border Force

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25,000 men and women work for the UK Border Agency. At home and abroad, their job is to seek out the lawbreakers and impostors who don't have a right to be here. They are the UK Border Force.
The show's intro

UK Border Force is a British Reality TV show on Sky. It chronicles the jobs of customs and immigration officers of the United Kingdom's UK Border Agency, as they try to stop foreigners from entering, overstaying, or smuggling in the country illegally. The series tends to focus on three major avenues of enforcement Once an Episode: truck inspectors, raiders of businesses, and airport customs checks.

One group of officers is stationed at the truck inspection checkpoints in the port of Calais, scrutinizing many trucks for the presence of illegally present migrants, with keen eyes and carbon dioxide detectors being their tools of choice. Truck operators risk thousands of pounds of fines if they get caught with these migrants. As the migrants usually lack critical documents, they cannot be sent away from the UK or France, but the flow of illegal immigrants from Calais into the UK remains as relentless as ever.

A second group of officers monitor customs in Heathrow Airport, always staying on watch to root out the inevitable false documentation or illegally smuggled items.

A third group of officers conduct raids on establishments where overstayers and illegal workers are suspected to be present in a variety of British cities stretching from London to Glasgow and Swansea. When caught, the workers are expelled if documentation is immediately detected; but if they lack documents, things go From Bad to Worse.

The show ran for two seasons in 2008 and 2009, for 18 episodes overall.


  • Blatant Lies:
    • Overall, officers are often very skeptical of people claiming that they lost their passports and other essential documentation by default. This is because they've experienced people lying about lacking documentation to slow down their removal from the UK, since things like passports are needed to send a person to another country.
    • "Nigerian Imposters": A Nigerian overstayer in Glasgow is discovered with an illegitimate South African passport with a photo that is clearly of him. The Nigerian, when informed of the passport, immediately claims that it wasn't him. The officers don't believe him and he is charged with document forgery.
  • Clown Car: A non-vehicular variation. In "Operation Aardvark", one officer recalls an incident years prior where 47 Chinese citizens were discovered to live in a 3-bedroom house.
  • Grass is Greener: Many migrants try to sneak into the UK in search of better work and what is essentially an optimistic American Dream. Unfortunately, they tend to end up in menial jobs, such as car washes, at best.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Migrants from Calais, in desperation, often resort to measures that would have greatly risked their own lives if they were not caught.
    • One Calais officer points out that the truck that a migrant may attempt to hitch a ride on may be refrigerated at any time, freezing the poor migrants to death. Sadly, some migrants do freeze to death this way in real life, making the officer's remark Truth in Television.
    • Occasionally, Calais migrants attempt to fool carbon dioxide detectors by covering themselves in plastic bags. The border officers were not very amused, since not only do they not work, but the migrants would be at serious risk of suffocating themselves.
  • The Illegal: The show is mainly about immigration and customs airports often meeting up with people either having entered, overstayed, or tried to enter the UK illegally. When caught, they are usually removed from the country.
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: Despite the migrants endlessly trying to sneak into the UK via Calais with no legal recourse to kick them out of France and stop more of them from showing up, the Calais border officers still diligently inspect incoming trucks for migrants and remove them from the port of Calais.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: "Operation Aardvark" has a Chinese takeout worker be apprehended and ordered back to his house to find his passport so that he can be removed from the UK. As they check out his house, they also find out that he was housing not only his nuclear family, but also four other illegally overstaying men in a small six-bed room.
  • Morton's Fork: The officers run into this when attempting to remove illegal workers or immigrants who lack documentation. On one hand, their home countries are unlikely to allow entry for the removed persons without documentation such as a passport. On the other hand, letting them off would still allow them to illegally be present in the UK. Detaining them until replacement documents can be produced also often risks the limited detention centre space being overloaded beyond capacity. Even worse, the fourth option of putting the offending persons under probation so that they can be removed later upon obtaining documentation often ends up with them absconding as soon as they get the chance.
  • Recycled In Space: Given that it is also a Reality TV show that chronicles the real-life work of customs and immigration enforcement officials, this may as well be Border Security BUT BRITISH!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Several overstayers, due to detention centres being overloaded, are released into the open but with the stipulation that they report themselves to the authorities regularly before they are removed from the country. There is a good chance that the overstayer will simply flee whenever they get this window of freedom and leave all the immigration officers in the dark.