Britain to boost patrols to intercept channel migrants
BRITAIN will increase patrols in the Eng- lish Channel as tough security measures in Calais have led migrants to attempt dangerous sea crossings from northern France, a Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday (31).
The government has faced heavy criti- cism since 18 Albanian migrants had to be rescued late last Saturday (28) after their boat started taking on water off the English coast and it was revealed that the Border Force agency only has three boats to patrol the shoreline.
Since Britain and France stepped up security measures in the northern French port of Calais, “we have seen a small number of migrants trying to use more dangerous routes to get to the UK,” a spokesman for prime minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office said.
“We take every necessary action to protect our border security and will con- tinue to do so,” he added.
Around six more patrol boats will be added in the coming months although full deployment will not take place until the end of 2017, the government said.
New powers also came into effect on Tuesday allowing Border Force officers to board boats and arrest people suspected of facilitating illegal immigration.
British police on Monday (30) charged two Britons suspected of ferrying the 18 Albanians from the French coast.
Thousands of people have been massed in northern France for months, trying to reach Britain where they have relatives or believe they will have a better chance of finding employment, accord- ing to French and British charities.
Many have attempted to get across by sneaking onto lorries waiting to board cross-Channel ferries or trains.
High winds, strong currents, a high volume of traffic and low water tempera- tures all make the Channel a treacherous stretch of water, particularly in small, unseaworthy boats.