I.D. Badge Wallets

HM Customs & Excise Badge Wallet

HM Customs & Excise Badge Wallet

This type of I.D. Badge wallet was used by Commissioned Officers of HM Customs & Excise up to the time of the merger with HM Inland Revenue, when a new department called HM Revenue & Customs was formed.

A similar wallet was issued to the National Investigation Service with the words HM Customs & Excise National Investigation Service below the Portcullis.

HM Revenue & Customs Badge Wallet

HM Revenue & Customs Badge Wallet

This above ID Badge wallet was available to Officers of HM Revenue & Customs with a separate pouch for the inclusion of an identity card containing a photograph of the Officer +signature.


Royal Ulster Constabulary ID Badge Wallet

Royal Ulster Constabulary ID Badge Wallet

I believe this ID Badge wallet was issued to members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, but nothing else is known.


NHS Staff ID Badge Wallet

NHS Staff ID Badge Wallet


Ambulance Staff ID Badge Wallet

Ambulance Staff ID Badge Wallet


Scottish Ambulance Staff ID Badge Wallet

Scottish Ambulance Staff ID Badge Wallet


Paramedic Staff ID Badge Wallet

Paramedic Staff ID Badge Wallet


Customs, UKBA, or UKBF – Which is it?

HM Customs, HMRC, UKBA, UKBF – are you confused? Don’t know which is which?

More than likely. In the old days of HM Customs & Excise most people probably had a fair idea of what the name implied. Prior to all the changes which we have seen in recent years Customs & Excise had a history which went back to 1909 when the separate Boards of Customs Commissioners and Excise Commissioners were amalgamated. Of course both Customs and Excise were both old departments at the time of the marriage, whose history can be traced back to the 1600’s.

HM Customs & Excise (HMC&E)

HM Customs Ensign

HM Customs ensign originally flown on HM Customs Cutters


In 1643 Excise duties were first imposed on home produced articles to provide money for Cromwell’s Parliamentary Army and then continued by King Charles II for ‘royal purposes’.


In 1671 the Board of Customs was also instituted by King Charles. However, it was already a much older organisation used to control imports and exports, and to levy the Customs duties.

So what has changed?

HM Revenue & Customs logo

Logo of HM Revenue & Customs

HM Revenue & Customs was formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise which took effect on 18 April 2005.

HMC&E had historically opposed the idea of merger; a stance that was supported by successive governments as well. However, the parliamentary committees had always been advocating the case for a merger. In fact, the parliamentary committee who spearheaded the campaign for a merger expressed its lack of faith in the closer working alternative approach. Canada was cited as an example where the merger of tax administrations took place with positive results.  In an about turn from its previous stance the Government finally announced that a merger of the two departments would take place, stating that the UK was among the few countries in the world still having separate departments for its tax collecting activities.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) was formed and came into existence on 18 April 2005 after the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005.

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA)

UKBA Logo who took on Customs function

UK Border Agency logo worn as a Uniform Patch

However 3 years later, further changes were on the horizon when the UK Border Agency (UKBA) came into existence in interim form on 1 April 2008 as an agency of the Home Office. The UKBA brought together the Border and Immigration Agency, UK visas and the border control operations of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

With effect from 1 April 2008 all of HMRC’s Detection business unit and Risk and Intelligence staff working in direct support of Detection’s border activity was moved to the UKBA’s management structure.

The creation of the UKBA integrated the work of the Border and Immigration Agency, UK Visas and border related responsibilities of HMRC to create a single immigration and customs control to tackle smuggling, immigration crime and border tax fraud. It was hoped this would deliver significantly improved performance in relation to effective border control.

The agency attained full agency status on 1 April 2009. Immigration Officers and Customs Officers retained their own powers for the enforcement and administration of the UK’s borders. In August 2009 HMRC transferred several thousand Customs Detection Officers to the agency

Disbanding of the UKBA

However the agency came under formal criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman for consistently poor service, a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, and a large and increasing number of complaints. In the first nine months of 2009–10, 97% of investigations reported by the Ombudsman resulted in a complaint against the agency being upheld. The complainants were asylum, residence, or other immigration applicants. However the immigration enforcement part of the UKBA had already been separated from the rest of the agency and the Border Force was formed on 1 March 2012.

Formation of UK Visas and Immigration & Border Force


UK Visas and Immigration letterhead

UK Border Force now performing Customs work

Border Force title now worn on stab vests

On 26 March 2013, following a scathing report into the agency’s incompetence by the Home Affairs Select Committee, it was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May that the UK Border Agency would be abolished and its work returned to the Home Office. Its executive agency status was removed as of 31 March 2013 and the agency was split into two new organisations;

  1. UK Visas and Immigration focusing on the visa system and
  2. And the Border Force focusing on immigration law enforcement. This as mentioned above had already been set up in 2012.

And now for something to make you smile (or not, if you happen to be a wearer of the uniform in question)…UK Border Force Staff Sue over £3m ‘Itchy’ Uniforms, and Border guards sue over itchy new uniforms: 250 employees take action over outfits that are causing painful skin conditions




UK BORDER AGENCY (UKBA) – a defunct agency

UK Border Agency (UKBA) now rebranded as Border Force

Defunct UKBA logo

With effect from 31 March 2013 UKBA is now defunct

WANTED Badges and/or patches relating to the UK Border Agency. The executive agency status of the UKBA was removed as of 31 March 2013. Therefore I assume all uniform badges/patches have been withdrawn, with the formation of the Border Force and UK Visas & Immigration.

With that in mind I hope there will be many Officers who still have the old patches and ID badges in their possession?

I would love to add some examples of the old UKBA identification to my website. Therefore this is an appeal for all you kind folks out there to consider helping me out (an ex-Cussie). If need be I will also consider purchasing said items.

Also if anyone fancies sending me some pictures for inclusion on my site that would be really nice too.

Finally, for all those staff who now find themselves members of the latest reincarnation called the Border Force I would love to hear your comments (good or bad), as to how these changes have affected you? Again, if you have any pictures of the latest uniform badges, or ID/Warrant badge, it would be great to see those as well.

Please have a look at the tab marked UKBF & UKBA and tell me what I have missed showing. Please contact me at info@hmce-badges.co.uk


UK Border Force Cutter – Protector – new or old?

Update 01 August 2014

I am pleased to be able to include an additional article relating to HMC Protector  which has been provided by IHS Global Limited who own the copyright. Please see the attached PDF JNI_25 March 2014

Is the Border Force Protector a new vessel or has it got a history?

Actually this cutter which is new to the UK Border Force, had a previous 12 years of life with the Finnish Border Guard During  a cost cutting exercise and changes to the Border Guards operations, the FBG decided to sell three ships (called Tellkä, Tavi and Tiira respectively).

Finnish Border Guard Livery


Photo – courtesy of The Finnish Border Guard

UK Border Force Livery


Photo – courtesy of http://thamesvessels.blogspot.co.uk/

Also it would seem that Tavi did not see a lot of use during the time spent with the FBG, and apparently could not operate properly in ice conditions due to not being strengthened for navigation in ice. Also its oil recovery capacity was not deemed adequate for dealing with the increased traffic in the Gulf of Finland.

An advert of the intended sale was therefore placed in the largest newspaper in Finland called the Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday 27 January 2013.

Finnish Border Guard

For those readers interested in more background information about the FBG have a read at this excellent and informative article

HMC Protector

Photo – courtesy of http://thamesvessels.blogspot.co.uk/



Photo – courtesy of http://thamesvessels.blogspot.co.uk/

The ship specification

The advert stated that the 3 ships were suited and equipped for patrolling, SAR and other related activities, in coastal areas and at sea. The length is 49.5 metres, with a draught of 3.7 metres, and a top speed of 20+ knots. They are equipped with 9 cabins and 18 bunks. They are considered to be approximately half way through their expected lifespan of 25 – 30 years


This ship was originally commissioned in 2002. It was fully fitted with guns and was able to carry depth charges, mines, etc. This was a requirement of the Ministry of Defence – Finland. The armaments have however been removed for its new role with the UK Border Force, who are able to call for assistance upon the fully armed ships of the Royal Navy if required during operations. It will however retain its gun mount foundations.

Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats

All the HM Cutters operated by the Border Force carries RHIB‘s. These are light-weight but high-performance and high-capacity boats, measuring approximately 7-metres. These are launched from the stern slipway.





HM Customs Cutter – Searcher – in the old HMC&E livery

HM Customs Cutter “Searcher”

HM Customs Cutter

HMC Searcher under a threatening sky.

A great maritime photo of HMC Searcher – in the old HM Customs livery.These vessels formerly operated by HM Customs and Excise are now under the control of the UK Border Force. The UKBF  was a successor to the UK Border Agency.


A new Customs Scanner for the Cayman Islands

A new Customs Scanner for the Cayman Islands

The process was put in place in 2010 for interested parties to lodge bids to provide a Mobile X-Ray Cargo Vehicle

The Invitation to Bid process can be perused here

The mobile, Non-Intrusive Inspection Systems (NIIS) scanner inspects a stationary container during the demonstration

In an attempt to fight crime and increase border security the Cayman Islands Government has spent more than ten percent of its entire budget on new equipment which includes the above mobile Customs Scanner costing around $3 million.

HM Customs new vehicle is a  Heimann Cargo Vision Mobile (HCVM) x-ray inspection system, which should enable complete scrutiny of containers entering and leaving Cayman. This vehicle has been anticipated for several years. Also the vehicle should be able to carry out non-intrusive checks of cars and small watercraft.

The large, mobile cargo scanner uses a colour-coded system to distinguish between organic and inorganic materials.

Before the state of the art scanner was purchased Customs Officers had to inspect containers manually after carrying out random checks, which meant many units came and went without ever being inspected. It was noted that several seizures of weapons had been found in containers secreted inside toys and household appliances.  The Cayman Islands Government felt that it was clear that gun smugglers were using the port as one of their means of smuggling in weapons and other illegal contraband.

It is hoped that the new system will clamp down on drug smuggling and guns. In addition it should also improve the revenue collection by enabling officers to check every container against what has been declared on its manifest.

Local police are hopeful that this new piece of equipment will enable Customs to directly assist the RCIPS in is fight against gun crime..