Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Exit Controls

Like the United States, England has no exit controls. This means that one parent (or conceivably even a stranger) can take a child out of the country without the consent of the other parent.

The police forces in Humberside, England have announced their intention to crack down on this problem. It is a model that U.S. police forces should consider following.

Police officers working at Humberside Airport and King George Docks in Hull will check all passengers aged under 16 going through security to ensure they are traveling legitimately and not being taken out of the country illegally.

Police are reminding travelers to ensure they have all the appropriate documents with them when traveling, and those taking children abroad who are not their own should have suitable letters of consent and contact details from their parents in order to speed the process up for police checks.

Police officers at the docks and airport will check passports belonging to youngsters aged 16 and under to ensure they are traveling legitimately with the adults.Those not traveling with their parents or legal guardians will require proof of consent that the children are being permitted to leave the country without both their parents.

The police have announced that it is essential if people intend to take a friend or relative's child in or out of the country, they have written consent or supporting documents that can be verified if required by officers working at the ports. Failing to make these basic arrangements may delay travel.

Staff will use a passport reader to check outbound passengers and officers will also have access to the current child abduction list. Passports of all traveling children will also be checked against the Police National Computer wanted and missing database.