Border Watch


Border Watch is one way we are helping to protect Australia’s border—by enabling industry and the community to report suspicious behaviour. We rely on the knowledge of industry and the community. Border Watch members know their local environments.

Anyone can report to Border Watch. However, the programme also has members, ranging from large, multi-national corporations to community organisations to individuals. Our members are located in capital cities, regional centres and remote areas, and operate in environments as varied as transport and cargo logistics, tourism operators and recreational clubs.

Have you seen something suspicious?

If you have seen something suspicious, your information could be the key piece of the puzzle that helps the Australian Border Force detect and seize dangerous drugs or prohibited imports such as illegal firearms.

By reporting suspicious activities, you actively help protect Australia's border.

You can make a report to Border Watch using our online form. You can choose to remain anonymous.

If you are unable to submit an online form, you can contact us on 1800 009 623. If you are calling from outside of Australia or using a satellite phone, please call +61 2 6246 1325 (standard call costs will apply).

What to report

We are interested in information about:

  • importation of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals
  • people smuggling
  • terrorism
  • illegal and dangerous weapons
  • performance and image enhancing drugs (steroids)
  • illegal import or export of currency
  • illegal import and export of fauna
  • illegal pornography and child abuse images
  • counterfeit goods.

What to look out for

Suspicious behaviour
The person is:

  • overly nervous, evasive or refusing reasonable assistance
  • attempting to conceal their identity
  • preferring to settle accounts early, or
  • enquiring about Australian Border Force, police or other law enforcement agencies’ activities.

Suspicious activity
The person is:

  • interested in specific or unusual locations
  • insisting on paying in cash only
  • making unusual purchases, or
  • carrying unusual equipment or hardware.

Suspicious goods
The goods are:

  • mis-described, misspelt or have incorrect information on them,
  • labelled in an obscure manner
  • damaged, modified or tampered with
  • too heavy or too light for the given goods description, or
  • emitting an unusual odour.

How we protect your information and identity

Industry and the Australian community can report information about suspicious or criminal activity at the border with anonymity and privacy. You should know that:

  • Border Watch does not covertly record personal information
  • a caller will be asked to tell the operator if they do not wish to be recorded
  • people can use our online form to submit information anonymously, if they would prefer
  • any personal details that are provided are secured and managed separately to the referral
  • you can remain anonymous even if you give permission for your call to be recorded.

We operate in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Australian Privacy Principles outlined in Schedule 1 of that Act and our Privacy Policy to ensure your personal information is managed appropriately at all times.

In some cases, we may be required to disclose your personal information by law (e.g. due to a court order, or under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 Cth), if you have shared such information with us.

Where this happens, we will use appropriate methods to protect your personal information. This may include a public interest immunity claim or the use of protective orders (e.g. applying for a suppression or non-publication order). Where your personal information is subject to a Freedom of Information request, exemptions may be claimed to protect your personal information and you will be consulted prior to the release of your personal information.

Sometimes, we may also need to share your personal information with other Government agencies as provided for by Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth).

If you have any concerns about being identified as providing information to Border Watch, please consider making your referral anonymously.

See the Border Watch Information Protection Statement for more information.

Become a Border Watch Member

Border Watch is dedicated to building strong partnerships underpinned by trust and confidence.

Key partners of the Border Watch programme are industry members that are involved in the movement of goods and people across the Australian border. Industry members include customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping companies, warehouses and depots, airlines and transport companies.

We encourage any company that operates in the international trade or transport sectors to join the Border Watch programme.

Border Watch also values its partnerships with community groups and individuals who observe suspicious activities in their local environments. These groups include accommodation and tourism providers, coast guard volunteers, radio operators, 4WD clubs, marina operators and residents of coastal communities.

We encourage any individual or group that identifies suspicious border activity to make contact with the Border Watch programme.

Border Watch members strive to:

  • provide timely information about any unusual or suspicious incidents of interest to us
  • Work with us in the development of consultative and cooperative working arrangements
  • monitor and improve their internal security.

In turn we agree to:

  • provide awareness sessions and advice on matters relating to security and drug interdiction
  • participate in and encourage the development of consultative and cooperative working arrangements. You can enquire using our becoming a Border Watch member online form.

You can enquire using our becoming a Border Watch member online form.

Border Watch member enquiries will be referred to a Border Watch coordinator in the appropriate region.