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The Sun newspaper first reported that the idea was being considered.

The EU has already rejected two plans for the Irish border put forward by Britain: a customs arrangement in which the whole country would "mirror" EU rules, and "maximum facilitation", or MaxFac, which would allow Britain to diverge and use technology to keep the border open.

Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí McHugh says any attempt to re-commission PSNI stations for a Brexit border security plan would be totally unacceptable.

A spokesman said only: "We have set out two viable future customs arrangements with the European Union and work is ongoing to refine these".

Under this scenario, Northern Ireland will remain in the customs territory of the European Union until then, until a different decision.

Mr Wilson said the goal of any border buffer zone is far from clear, and added: "Whilst the idea seems to be that movement can take place within the buffer zone, what happens to trade from outside the buffer zone when it crosses into that zone?"

"Once again this shows the lack of knowledge of border areas and the concerns they face", Anderson said.

And Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "More and more by the day, Tory plans are sounding like something out of Alice in Wonderland". He described them as "at best contradictory".

Earlier this week the chair of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, Mark Lindsay, set out a case for the recruitment of hundreds of additional officers in order to prepare with what emerges from negotiations about the border in the post-Brexit era.

"Secondly, who will make the judgement as to which regulations should apply?"

Talks on a future EU-UK trade deal will only commence once fears over Ireland are put to rest, and a final Brexit deal is supposed to be finalised by October. Whilst the idea seems to be that movement can take place within the buffer zone, what happens to trade from outside the buffer zone when it crosses into that zone?

The European Union previously criticized May for not setting out how the United Kingdom would achieve a frictionless border with the EU without erecting a land border to control goods between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

McGrane said his organisation was "aghast" that with time running out before Britain leaves the European Union next year, the government has still not set out clearly how it can avoid imposing a land border on the island of Ireland.


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