Dark Mode
More forecasts: Johannesburg 14 days weather
  • Sunday, 14 July 2024
Small Boat Crossing Issue

Cooper Presents Action Plan for Small Boat Crossing Issue

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has outlined the initial steps to establish a UK Border Security Command, aiming to reduce small boat crossings in the English Channel.

Recruiting a Leader for the Command

Starting Monday, the government will begin the search for an "exceptional leader" to head this new body. They're also working on a bill to create counter-terror powers to combat organized immigration crime.

Coordination Across Agencies

The Home Office states that the command leader, expected to be appointed within weeks, will coordinate efforts between intelligence agencies, police, Immigration Enforcement, and Border Force.

Labour's Alternative to the Rwanda Plan

Labour's plan, led by Cooper, is positioned as an alternative to the Conservatives' strategy of sending some arrivals to Rwanda. Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer confirmed the Rwanda scheme is "dead and buried."

Redirecting Funds to Border Security

Throughout the election campaign, Labour promised to reallocate £75 million from the Rwanda policy to set up the Border Security Command. The Conservatives, however, have criticized this proposal, with then-Home Secretary James Cleverly arguing it would achieve less.

Concerns About Scrapping the Rwanda Plan

Kevin Saunders, a former chief immigration officer for Border Force, voiced concerns about ending the Rwanda plan, noting it had caused "unease" among migrants in northern France.

Tackling the Root Problem

Cooper emphasized that Labour aims to "tackle the root of the problem" by targeting criminal smuggling gangs profiting from small boat crossings, which undermine border security and endanger lives.

Major Upgrade in Law Enforcement

She highlighted the recruitment of a new border security commander and cross-border police as a significant enhancement in law enforcement.

Investigating Smuggling Routes

In addition to recruiting for the command, Cooper announced plans to investigate the routes, methods, and tactics used by people-smuggling gangs to inform her strategy.

Digital ID Cards Not in Labour's Approach

While former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair suggested digital ID cards for controlling immigration, Cooper stated this would not be her approach.

Reviewing the Rwanda Policy

When asked if Rwanda would be asked to repay the money given to accept UK migrants, Cooper said she would audit the details and present next steps to Parliament.

Rising Numbers of Channel Crossings

Since 2018, the number of people attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats has increased significantly. In 2023, over 29,000 people made the journey, and as of June 26, 2024, 13,195 people had crossed the Channel, surpassing numbers from the same period in previous years.

Comparing Illegal and Legal Migration

Although the number of illegal Channel crossings is increasing, it remains lower than legal migration figures. In 2023, net migration was 685,000, a 10% decrease from the previous year.

Comment / Reply From