A Customs Officer

by Natalia Yanchura

There is a great variety of jobs but I am sure that being a customs officer is of the most important one. I am a customs officer, also known as a detection officer. I must ensure that people who enter or exit the country do it legally, whether they don't bring anything in or take anything out that they shouldn't. A Customs Officer usually works in an airport, a dock or a port. I work for an airport. I mainly start my working day at 9 in the morning until 5 in the evening from Monday to Friday. I am a uniformed officer so I sometimes work shifts including weekends, public holidays and evenings. I sit in a booth at the front of a long line of people. When they arrive I check their paperwork to make sure they are allowed to enter the country. I also inspect their luggage and possessions. I must ensure they don't bring prohibited items. I look for contraband, such as drugs or weapon or to say it shortly I must prevent smuggling and illegal trade. To do my work properly I use a wide range of tools and technology, such as computers, metal detectors, X-ray machines and scanners. There are also canine enforcement teams where dogs are trained to detect narcotics, explosives and currency. I sometimes arrest and charge people as well as prepare reports and witness statements. When it is necessary, I go to the court as a witness and work closely with the police.

My job is very useful and interesting. Every day I deal with a numerous people of different nationalities and cultures so I have to be patient, tactful, polite and caring advising them on import and export restrictions, rate systems, quotas or other customs-related matters. Moreover, I have to be flexible and resourceful to cope with unusual and unpredictable situations. My job requires a lot of knowledge and skills. I must be good at duties and laws. I must possess good listening and questioning skills and be able to work alone as well as a part of a team.

Follow-up questions:

  1. What is your job?
  2. Where do you work?
  3. What do you do at your work?
  4. What are your main duties?
  5. What do you detect?
  6. When do you work?
  7. What do you find boring about your job?
  8. What/who do you deal with?
  9. Who are the dogs trained by?
  10. What do you need the metal detectors for?
  11. What do you search for when you use an x-ray machine?
  12. Do you arrest customers?
  13. What is it illegal?
  14. What are you good at?
  15. Why do you have to be good at laws?
  16. Does your job require a lot of attention?
  17. Who do you usually contact with?
  18. Do you wear a uniform at work place?
  19. What other services do you work closely with? Why?
  20. Do you find you job stressful? Why?
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