Tuesday, 23rd April 2019


Customs officers work for the HM Revenue & Customs in UK airports and ferry ports, preventing banned items and substances from leaving and entering the UK. Customs officers also collect customs duties and payments for any items being brought into the UK. They also play a vital part in the prevention of drug smuggling or illegal trade.

Typical duties of a customs officer might involve some of the following:

  • Identifying people to search
  • Searching luggage and travellers for any prohibited items
  • Checking customs documents
  • Questioning people who have been found with illegal items
  • Seizing smuggled or illegal goods and substances
  • Using “sniffer dogs” to find traces of drugs on passengers
  • Arresting and charging people
  • Communicating with the authorities
  • Calculating revenue due on imported goods
  • Prepare reports and witness statements

The work of a customs officer can be quite varied, with different situations arising at all times. Customs officers must have skills in remaining professional and authoritative, whilst also dealing with passengers in a calm, collected manner.

Customs officers may take on specialist roles such as surveillance work or dog handling, and they may also be required to testify in court in the case of a trial.

This job can attract quite heavy competition for vacancies, as they do not come along all that often. Getting work experience in any relevant public service role can help.