Following 11 arrests of people illegally facilitating Channel crossings, the Home Secretary has vowed to “put whatever resource is necessary” into dismantling people-smuggling gangs.
Police carried out an operation last week which saw 12 properties raided and 11 people arrested. £150,000 in cash and two vehicles were also seized as UK authorities clamped down on the people and gangs responsible for organising the illegal crossings.
So far this year, 3,285 people have crossed the Channel illegally from France. July 12 saw a total of 180 illegal immigrants reaching the UK in 15 different boats. Last week alone, 288 people made the journey.
In a statement on Saturday evening, Ms Patel said: “I will not tolerate ruthless criminals looking to break the law by smuggling people into the UK illegally. I will put whatever resource is necessary to dismantle these gangs and stop these dangerous crossings, including going after the groups financing these criminal operations.”
“This is a clear message to those behind these reckless crossings. We will find you and we will stop at nothing to put you behind bars and strip you of your ill-gotten gains.”
The operation took place in London and Sheffield and was led by Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations. The raids were in conjunction with the Met Police, the National Crime Agency, Border Force and their French law enforcement counterparts.
All of those arrested are suspected of being part of an organised crime group that funds, organises and enables the facilitation of illegal migrants using boats to cross the Channel.
Ms Patel met with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin two weeks ago to discuss the Channel crisis and how the two governments could do more to tackle the problem.
It was agreed, through a Declaration of Intent, that a Franco-British Operational Research Unit will be established to combat the issue.
Once set up, the new unit will collate, centralise and analyse operational intelligence in an effort to stop any attempt at crossing the Channel illegally, while looking deeper into the issue and tackling the gangs behind them.
It is nice to see that the Home Secretary is taking this issue very seriously. Previous governments have just thrown money at the Border Force and the French government and it’s never made a difference.
Working in partnership with the French, sharing intelligence and manpower to combat this issue has got to be more effective, though it makes you wonder why they weren’t doing this before.
That being said, I do believe the only way we are going to prevent the illegal migrants getting to the UK is by turning the boats around when in British waters – as the Australians do.
Australia’s ‘push-backs’ are extremely effective and this is a method we need to adopt urgently. The reality is that, if the boats don’t get here, eventually they’ll stop trying.
Remember, these illegal migrants could’ve sought asylum in pretty much any of the European countries they’ve already come through. But they won’t. Because from the second they arrive in the UK, they have everything handed to them. We treat foreign illegals better than we treat some of our own people, and it’s disgusting.
It is good news that Ms Patel has managed to develop the effort against the illegal crossings, but I fear that it will be just another waste of taxpayers’ money.
This issue has a really simple solution, but it’s a solution that I believe will never be adopted by any UK government.