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Belarusian border service to embrace automated solutions, facilitate border crossing

Society 16.10.2018 | 17:34

MINSK, 16 October (BelTA) – About 100 border service personnel will be moved from the Belarusian-Polish border checkpoint Kozlovichi and a number of other border checkpoints to other parts of the border after the customs service takes over some of the border service functions, representatives of the State Border Committee of Belarus told BelTA.

The functions will be redistributed in two stages. During the first stage border service personnel will stop handling freight trains at the railway stations Molodechno and Polotsk and in the border checkpoint Kozlovichi where an experiment took place. It will allow freeing about 100 border service specialists. During the second stage the border service will stop interacting with truck drivers in automobile border checkpoints.

The released specialists will be redeployed to the units protecting the border with Ukraine and the Baltic states as well as the unit in the Minsk National Airport.

The source reminded that the customs service performed some of the border service functions as an experiment, which took place in the Kozlovichi border checkpoint from 1 June through 1 September 2017. The time vehicles spent crossing the border was reduced as a result of the experiment.

The Belarusian customs service is supposed to start performing those border service functions in the Kozlovichi border checkpoint on a permanent basis as from January 2019.

Another successful experiment took place in the Minsk National Airport where a digital gate was installed in 2015. It allows performing border control functions without a human controller. Results of the experiment were in favor of installing such equipment. The Belarusian border service believes that in view of the planned introduction of biometric passports for Belarusian citizens automatic border control solutions can considerably reduce the time required to cross the border.

Results of the experiments were taken into account as amendments to Belarusian border security laws were prepared. The relevant bill was given the first reading in the parliament on 16 October. It allows performing border control using automated solutions. The bill also expands the list of documents, which allow staying in the border zone.

The bill provides for some measures to bolster border security. Officers of the Belarusian border service will be able to determine not only where people and vehicles can enter the border zone but also how long they can stay there. Additional restrictions will be introduced inside the border zone and the border belt. For instance, optic devices cannot be used in the border belt without authorization from the border service. The novelty has been prompted by smugglers, who resort to all kinds of devices like night vision goggles, thermal viewers, binoculars, and so on, under the guise of tourists, fishermen, mushroom pickers.

The amendments are designed to facilitate the border crossing experience and encourage the adoption of information technologies by the Belarusian border service.

The border zone is the land adjacent to the state border (up to 30km away from the border on the average) and includes populated localities, rivers, lakes, and other water objects as well as islands. The border belt is the land adjacent to the state border (up to 10km away on the average). Border security structures and installations are located in this strip of land.

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