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The Special Volunteer Force will check remote airfields and small harbours.
Around 300 Brits who fought for Islamic State are believed to be trying to get back into the country.
A trial run will see 50 volunteers on patrol on the east coast with plans to cover all of Britain’s 7,000 miles of coastline.
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2017 brought devastating natural disasters, horrific terror attacks, North Korea nuclear tests and the Trump administration 1 / 74 AFP/Getty Images A demonstrator burns during clashes with riot police a protest against the Venezuelan President
“This is trying to police the borders on the cheap”
They will not be paid or have any powers to arrest or even interrogate suspects.
If they see something suspicious they must telephone the official Border Force.
Tonight, a union official representing border staff said: “This is trying to police the borders on the cheap.”
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The latest Home Office figures reveal more than 400 Border Force staff were made redundant in 2015 and 2016 in budget cuts.
Charlie Elphicke, the independent MP for Dover, warned: “I would urge great caution before seeking to adopt a model like that used by the police, with special constables. We can’t have a Dad’s Army-type of set-up.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are clear that volunteers would only ever be used to supplement existing Border Force activity and not as a replacement for permanent officers.”