Former Border Force Boss: Boat Migration Is ‘Major Threat’, Australia-Style Patrols Needed

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The former head of UK Border Force has called illegal boat migration from across the English Channel a “major threat” to Britain’s border security and has called for the British government to adopt a strict Australia-style approach and return illegal aliens to France.

Speaking to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on Friday, Tony Smith CBE said: “This was declared a critical incident by the Home Secretary last year.

“In my experience, critical incidents are declared in order to put out the fire, if you like, with a task force and that when the fire’s put out we return to business as normal.

“It’s too enduring to be just a critical incident. I think this is becoming a major threat, I’m afraid, to the UK border,” he warned.

The remarks come after widespread coverage, initially sparked by Nigel Farage’s investigative journalism reports, that the French authorities are escorting migrant boats practically from the shores of northern France to British territorial waters, where they coordinate with the British authorities in the “handover” of illegal aliens who are then transported the rest of the way to England.

In light of the revelations, Home Secretary Priti Patel was forced to confront 30 Conservative MPs outraged at the French and British authorities colluding in the transport of migrants. However, according to sources speaking to Guido Fawkes, Patel claimed that French naval vessels were powerless to stop the migrants in their dinghies, and that under international law they can only intervene if the illegals consent. The French were merely shadowing the vessel in case it went into distress, it was suggested.

There has been no indication that the British government is making any efforts to change the (non-binding) international laws which are supposedly tying the authorities’ hands, however.

The international law the British and French governments are using to justify their lack of action appears to make no difference to Australia, which has all but eliminated illegal entry by sea thanks to Operation Sovereign Borders.

Introduced seven years ago, this sees Australian authorities intercept migrant boats at sea and either turn them back or take them to off-shore asylum processing centres in third countries.

Speaking before his appearance at the parliamentary committee, Mr Smith had recommended that the United Kingdom introduce an Australia-style approach to stopping boat migrants.

The former Border Force director-general said British authorities need a more “robust” response with powers to forcibly remove migrants from their craft, fingerprint them, and return them to France.

“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,” said Mr Smith, according to The Telegraph.

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