The Royal Navy is taking over operational command from Border Force in the English Channel from today.
The service will be responsible for intercepting boats carrying migrants.
The Prime Minister said the new offshore asylum approach is intended to end the “barbaric trade in human misery conducted by the people smugglers in the Channel” and said crossings could reach 1,000 a day in a few weeks.
The PM added:
“These vile people smugglers are abusing the vulnerable and turning the Channel into a watery graveyard.
“To identify, intercept and investigate these boats, from today the Royal Navy will take over operational command from Border Force in the Channel, taking primacy for our operational response at sea in line with many of our international partners with the aim that no boat makes it to the UK undetected.”
Mr Johnson added that giving the Royal Navy operational command in the English Channel will send a clear message to criminal gangs.
This will be supported by £50m of new funding for new boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel.
The Prime Minister continued:
“In addition to the existing task force of patrol vessels, helicopters, search and rescue aircraft, drones and remotely piloted aircraft, this will send a clear message to those piloting the boats: if you risk other people’s lives in the Channel, you risk spending your own life in prison.
“People who do make it to the UK will be taken not to hotels at vast public expense, rather they will be housed in accommodation centres like those in Greece with the first of these to open shortly.”
See related article: Bold new plans to tackle illegal migration and control UK borders