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Home Office in the media

Latest statement in response to small boat crossings

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A Home Office spokesperson said:

“The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.

“Our priority is to stop this illegal trade, and our Small Boats Operational Command is working alongside our French partners and other agencies to disrupt the people smugglers.

“The government has gone further by introducing legislation which will ensure that those people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”


  • Leadership of the response to Channel crossings returned to the Home Office on January 31.
  • A centralised command bolstered by 730 extra staff for tackling dangerous Channel crossings has been set up. The Small Boats Operational Command (SBOC) will oversee operational activity with France to disrupt crossings, save lives at sea and ensure the effective processing of arrivals in the UK.
  • Recruitment is underway for the first phase of more than 500 members of staff.
  • Our Nationality and Borders Act is beginning to have an impact on the exploitative business model of people smugglers, with over 350 people already arrested since it became law, and we remain committed to removing those who flout our laws.
  • The French prevented nearly 33,000 crossings in 2022, an increase of over 40% on the number of crossings prevented in 2021.
  • The Joint Intelligence Cell has dismantled 76 organised crime groups since its inception in July 2020. In 2022, the Cell secured the arrests of more than 380 suspected people smugglers.
  • These measures build on the progress made since the Prime Minister took office, including the new package of measures agreed with France which will see a new detention centre established in France as well as the deployment of more than double the number of French personnel and enhanced technology to patrol beaches.
  • Our world-leading Migration and Economic Partnership with Rwanda will see those who come to the UK through dangerous, illegal and unnecessary routes relocated to Rwanda, where they will be supported to build new lives.
  • Manston has enabled us to introduce an enhanced process for asylum seekers - where possible, those seeking asylum in the UK are also interviewed and their asylum claims are registered before leaving.
  • We are absolutely committed to securing the welfare of all migrants and staff at Manston. Processing individuals through Manston as quickly as possible remains the primary objective.

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