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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The border guard, border patrol, border police, or frontier police of a country is a national security agency that performs border control, i.e., enforces the security of the country's national borders. In different states, these forces have different official names, subordinations and jurisdiction.


Peacetime duties

During peacetime special border patrolling forces, the Border guard, mans the chain of Border Outposts which are maintained all along international borders by countries to check smuggling, infiltration by spies of untrusted neighboring countries, insurgents bent on smuggling weapons and explosives for terrorist attacks and subversive activities, illegal immigration and human trafficking etc.. Patrols go out regularly from the Border outposts to patrol the international border to check illegal crossings and track any footprints of those who may have crossed over illegally or attempted to. In case intrusion by foreign elements is confirmed, it is the responsibility of the Border guard based on the post to trace the intruders by checking the nearby settlements, villages and towns and inform the law enforcement agencies, Customs and Police authorities.[1][2]



Chinese border guards' booth on the sea coast in Zhuhai, Guangdong

Typical tasks of a Border Guard are:

  • Controlling and guarding a nation's border;
  • Controlling border crossing persons, vehicles, and travel documents;
  • Preventing illegal border crossing of persons, vehicles, cargoes and other goods;
  • Controlling transportation of prohibited and limited items (e.g. weapons, ammunition, toxic substances) over the national border;
  • Supervising and controlling the observation of foreigner residence regulations, visa regime;
  • Preventing the movement of goods and other articles over national borders, bypassing the customs control;
  • Investigating cases related to offenses against the national border.

The Border Guard may also perform delegated customs and immigration control duties.

Wartime duties

During wartime however the Border guard withdraw from the Border outposts and provide assistance in a limited capacity to the country's regular Army which then comes and mans all the border outposts at the international border facing the enemy neighboring country. Wartime assistance of the Border guard to the Army is essential as they are familiar with the local terrain having patrolled it on a daily basis during peacetime. During wars Border outposts are reworked into well fortified dug-in positions from where regular Army units can operate to defend the territorial integrity of the country.[1]

Border guards by country


Egyptian Border Guard under the control of the Central Security Forces|Ministry of Defense]]. The Border Guard is a lightly armed paramilitary unit of about 25,000 personnel, mostly Bedouins, responsible for border surveillance, general peacekeeping, drug interdiction, and prevention of smuggling. During the late 1980s, the force was equipped with remote sensors, night-vision binoculars, communications vehicles, and high-speed motorboats.


The Border Security Force (BSF) is a border patrol agency of the Government of India. Established on December 1, 1965, it is a component of the paramilitary forces of India (PMF) and its primary role is to guard India's international borders during peacetime and also prevent transnational crime. Like most paramilitary units of India, the BSF is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is one of the many law enforcement agencies of India.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is an Indian paramilitary force conceived on October 24, 1962 for security along the India's border with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, border covering 2115 kilometers.


The Israeli border guard service is known as the Israel Border Police. it is a part of the Israel Police and it was founded as being part of the frontier corps before it became the Border Police. While its main duty is protecting the borders of Israel, it has also been deployed to be used in helping the Israeli military (IDF) in some conflicts such as the Six Day War.[3] A scandal that troubled the Israeli Border Police in 1956 was the Kafr Qasim massacre, where several Palestinian Arabs were killed by Israel Border Police.[4]


In Italy the border police service is covered by the Guardia di Finanza, a branch of the Italian Army under the command of the Finance Minister; mostly, the GdF (or Fiamme Gialle) fight against smuggling, illegal drug trafficking, tax evasion and other financial crimes. Also, many border posts are staffed by Carabinieri.


The Border Guard Service of Russia is currently (since 2003) an agency of the Federal Security Service. The agency considers itself a direct successor of the Soviet border troops, and regularly celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the latter (May 28, 1918).[5]. This annual event, known as the Border Guards Day is celebrated every year by the guards in active service as well as former servicemen in Moscow and throughout the country.[5].


The Pakistan Rangers are a paramilitary force under the control of the Ministry of the Interior of the Pakistani government. In 1995 the Pakistan Rangers divided into two parts; Pakistan Rangers Punjab headquartered in Lahore, and Pakistan Rangers Sindh headquartered in Karachi. The two divisions have different uniforms and chains of command.

United States

In the United States, border control is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. This jurisdictional authority is shared by Customs and Border Protection, the United State Coast Guard (the primary interdiction components) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the investigative component).

Customs and Border Protection is comprised of three distinct enforcement arms: the Office of Border Patrol (OBP, otherwise known as the United States Border Patrol), the Office of Field Operations (OFO) and the Office of Air and Marine (OAM). OBP is tasked with securing the international border in-between the Ports of Entry (POE) and is a mobile enforcement agency that is structured and employed like any other uniformed police department in the United States. OFO is the law enforcement branch tasked with administering the POE's (air, land or sea) and is responsible for determining the admissibility of all persons and goods into the United States. The OAM operates all aircraft and watercraft for Customs and Border Protection and coordinates their interdiction efforts with either OBP, United States Coast Guard and/or with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The United States Coast Guard is the only branch of military in the United States that is not subject to posse comitatus. The reason being that both commissioned and petty officers are considered law enforcement officers with customs authority pursuant to 19 USC 1401 [6]. United States Coast Guard has jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the same authority as both Customs and Border Protection and the United States Coast Guard, with the added jurisdiction of investigating violations that occur at both the border and the interior of the United States.

In terms of comparison to a traditional police force, Customs and Border Protection and the United States Coast Guard are analogous to the uniformed division while Immigration and Customs Enforcement would represent the detective division.

United Kingdom

Border guard services are provided by the UK Border Agency. The UKBA is responsible for passport checks and customs enforcement at ports of entry into the UK.


  1. ^ a b Indian Bollywood film Border (1997) made with the official assistance of the Border Security Force (BSF), Indian Army and the Indian Airforce.
  2. ^ Indian Bollywood film Refugee (2000) made with the official assistance of the Border Security Force (BSF)
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ United States Coast Guard

See also


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