Minister visits France after increase in small boat departures

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Minister Philp joined a beach patrol and heard from police officers about the increasingly evasive tactics the gangs are taking to avoid detection.

Immigration Compliance and Justice Minister Chris Philp has travelled to France to meet French law enforcement and make sure UK funding to tackle immigration is delivering results for the British public. He was joined in Calais by Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney.

During the two-day visit, Minister Philp joined a beach patrol and heard from police officers about the increasingly evasive tactics the gangs are taking to avoid detection along a 100km coastline.

This has led to criminal gangs changing their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier and dangerous journeys.

The UK is working hard to address this challenge and last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin signed a new agreement to strengthen UK-France cooperation to tackle small boat crossings.

This agreement will see the number of police patrolling French beaches more than double for the second time in a year, so far preventing over 8,000 attempts by migrants to enter the UK – nearly treble the number for the same period in 2020.

Immigration Compliance and Justice Minister Chris Philp said:

In recent months we have seen a surge in illegal migration across Europe and the number of crossings we have seen over the last few weeks is simply unacceptable. Ruthless criminals are treating people like human cargo, smuggling them across borders. They have no care for human life and are taking riskier and longer crossings.

I’m in France today to meet with French law enforcement and make sure the new funding we have provided, which has doubled patrols and meant greater intelligence sharing, delivers results for the British public.

Seeing the vastness of coastline now being exploited by organised gangs shows the scale of the problem facing the French. We must step up to the challenge, and working together offers the best chance of putting an end to his criminal trade and protect lives.

The Minister also travelled to Coquelles Terminal for a tour of the Border Force Juxtaposed Controls where drivers found not to be taking basic precautions to prevent illegal entry can be fined by officers.

The Government say the New Plan for Immigration is the only credible long term plan to fix the broken asylum system and bring this exploitation to an end.

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