British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked spy chiefs to help tackle illegal immigration into the UK as Europe’s migrant crisis rumbles on for a second year.
Mrs May has asked the heads of intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to spy on people smuggling gangs in order to find evidence that could secure convictions.
Speaking in New York, the Prime Minister said the world was experiencing unprecedented levels of migration and called for people smuggling and modern slavery to be raised to the same level of concern as terrorism and serious organised crime.
“Just as the criminals cross borders, so we need a radical new approach that crosses borders – sharing intelligence and joining up investigations,” Mrs May said.
“This is standard in the case of drugs trafficking and the trade in illegal firearms and there is no excuse for our law enforcement authorities failing to do this when it comes to modern slavery.
“We owe it to the innocent men, women and children… tricked into a life of hard labour and abuse to rid our world of this evil.”
The Mail reports that Interpol and Europol have already agreed to sign up, despite warnings before the referendum that Brexit would mean an end to cooperation.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, MI5 director Andrew Parker, MI6 head Alex Younger and GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan have also agreed to help.
Mrs May’s plans come as it is revealed the British government are offer private companies up to £80 million of taxpayers’ money to guard French ports.
The Home Office contract would require the successful bidder to help French authorities in Calais, Dunkirk and the Channel Tunnel terminal. They will have to provide “40 authorised search officers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year” at these sites.