Former Border Force chief say UK needs Australian-style patrols to return illegal migrants to France

The former Border Force Director General Tony Smith CBE has said the United Kingdom needs a more robust response with enforcement officers with powers of arrest and trained to remove migrants from their dinghies and fingerprint them before returning them to France, in response to the growing numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the English channel.

Mr Smith, who today is giving evidence to MPs investigating the Channel crisis, said Border Force cutters and the French vessels are currently constrained from such Australian-style tactics under international maritime law that only allows officers to intervene if they are invited to do so.

He said that if this “search and rescue” approach was changed, the migrants could continue to be taken by French boats into UK waters where they could “invite” the British to rescue them or call for help from the British coastguards or police.

Mr Smith: “We need an Australian-style border patrol comprising officers fully trained and equipped with vessels to board, seize and take on board people and goods on the high seas,

“It could sit under the Border Force.” 

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel wants to rewrite laws and the international Dublin agreement to make it easier to return migrants to France whether caught at sea or on British soil. Yesterday she held a virtual meeting with 30 Tory MPs concerned about the surge in Channel migrants.

Anthony John Smith CBE

A Home Office source claimed the French were sympathetic towards negotiating the Dublin III regulation: “The French do not want to allow crossings as this creates a strong pull factor for more migrants to come across continental Europe to northern France in the hope of crossing too.” 

Tony Smith, who chairs an international border association including the UK border force, said a new treaty was necessary in order to allow each nation’s border force vessels free range in the other’s territorial waters to pick up migrants and take them back to France.

He has claimed that this would kill off the trade of illegal immigration exploited by criminal gangs by showing attempts to cross would only end in failure.

Mr Smith, who headed Canada’s immigration service in the early 2000s, helped pioneer a similar agreement with the US after 9/11 where joint enforcement teams could cross into each other’s territories to “chase and apprehend” migrants and return them to their “point of providence.”

A Border Force coastal patrol vessel.

Mr Smith who will be giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee today (22 May 20). “We need a co-ordinated agreement that anyone found on the high seas will be intercepted by us or them and they will be returned to their point of providence,” said

Yesterday the Home Office has launched its new initiative known as Operation Sillath, to deport migrants who reach the UK in small boats, including some before their asylum claims have been fully considered.

The whole team at UNN have been covering the issue of illegal immigration into the UK via the English Channel for some time and with the lockdown, in Britain, we have seen some of the largest numbers ever attempting to enter the nation in one day. This is why with your support we are planning a documentary on this most serious of issues, the UNN team will be heading down to the English Channel to get a truthful perspective of just what is going on, please consider supporting us.

You can read more about our ‘The Silent Invasion?’ project by clicking below:

APPEAL: UNN needs your help to EXPOSE the truth about the English Channel situation

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This content was sourced from Unity News Network.


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