Traditional border checks lull people into a false sense of security. Random customs search and blanket passport verifications are an inefficient use of resources better employed elsewhere in the country to tackle serious crime. My years at the Bar taught me that great cross-border crime busts are almost invariably the result of shared intelligence.
The UK Customs and Excise service lobbies powerfully against change, ostensibly fearful of job losses, but perhaps merely reflecting their reluctance to accept more challenging work practices. Robin Cook's current policy offers travellers to and from the Continent an enduring prospect of dismal passport queues and whey-faced officials rifling through personal possessions in order to discover the occasional adult video or small block of cannabis resin.