Robert HARNEIS- TDO- (FRANCE)- Britain’s interior minister, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, has ordered two more Border Force patrol boats to guard the English Channel in an effort to stop migrants making the risky crossing from Calais to Dover in small craft.
The Home Secretary has been facing pressure to step up enforcement of the crossing after hundreds of people were intercepted trying to get to the UK from France.
Mr. Javid said two cutters currently deployed overseas would be brought back to Britain in a bid to step up enforcement of the route. Forced to cut his holidays short, he said there is no easy answer to dealing with the latest version of migrant boat people. ‘As Home Secretary I have a duty to protect the UK border as well as a duty to protect human life,’ he said.
‘Anyone crossing the Channel – one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world – is taking a huge risk with their life. Whatever your motivations are, no one wants to see a tragedy. We have already seen children as young as 9 on these boats.
‘That is one of the reasons I have taken the decision to redeploy two Border Force vessels – known as cutters, which are currently based abroad, to the UK. They will be on hand to help patrol the Channel alongside a Border Force cutter and two smaller coastal patrol vessels currently stationed there."
The two patrol ships had been working on anti-people smuggling and rescue operations in Greece, which has received hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past five years.
According to the Home Office, 539 people attempted to travel to the UK on small boats in 2018. The true figure is almost certainly much higher.
The department said around 80% of those had tried to make the journey in the last three months of the year, with 227 were intercepted by French authorities before making it to the UK.
Some Conservative MPs had been calling on the Home Secretary to draft in support from the Navy, but Mr. Javid - who on Monday chaired a meeting of British authorities including the National Crime Agency and Border Force - said there was ‘no single solution’ to the problem.
‘We need to continue to work closely with the National Crime Agency and French counterparts to target the organized crime gangs behind these dangerous attempts and stop boats before they leave French waters – as well as working upstream to prevent migrants making these perilous journeys in the first place,’ he said.
The thousands of illegal immigrants gather in the Calais area trying to get to England where there are plenty of jobs as opposed to the three million unemployed in France. The British social security system is also generous to immigrants.
Migrants seem prepared to take bigger and bigger risks to reach the English coast as they are concerned that Brexit will make it harder for them to cross.
A Sudanese man recently jumped from a bridge onto a Eurotunnel train as it left France for the English side. As the trains reach a speed of 160 kph he was inevitably thrown off and electrocuted as he fell, although he was not killed.