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https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2024/02/23/latest-statement-in-response-to-small-boat-crossings/

Latest statement in response to small boat crossings

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A Home Office spokesperson said:

"Our priority is to stop the boats, which is why we have taken robust action to crack down on vile people smuggling gangs, deter migrants from making dangerous crossings and, alongside our French counterparts, intercept vessels.

"This relentless action reduced crossings by 36% last year, despite numbers soaring by 80% in the Mediterranean, and more than 26,000 attempts were prevented.

Background:

  • The fact we have seen three devastating fatal incidents in three months highlights the unacceptable risks that migrants and criminal gangs are running in pursuing these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary crossing attempts. Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of those who have lost their lives crossing the Channel.
  • Weather conditions for crossings recorded over the course of 2023 were similar to conditions in 2022, with only four fewer days likely for crossings recorded in 2023 compared to the previous year.
  • We will do whatever is necessary to end these perilous and fatal journeys, encouraging people to seek safe and legal passage. Since 2015, over 550,000 people have done so.
  • The decrease in crossing numbers is testament to the tough measures we have introduced, the hard work of our dedicated Border Force officers and our work with French counterparts.
  • Illegal migration is an international challenge we are tackling on all fronts – including working upstream with international partners, clamping down on the criminal gangs with stepped-up enforcement, and working with the French to prevent more crossings.
  • We have taken immediate action to speed up asylum processing whilst maintaining the integrity of the system. This includes simplifying guidance and streamlining processes. We have also introduced shorter, focussed interviews, making the interview process more efficient.
  • Measures introduced to tackle illegal migration since the Prime Minister took office include:
    • package of measures agreed with France which will see the deployment of more than double the number of French personnel and enhanced technology to patrol beaches.
    • a strengthened partnership with Turkey which includes UK and Turkish law enforcement officers stepping up joint operations to tackle Organised Immigration Crime and disrupt the supply chain of boat parts and other materials used as part of illegal migration journeys.
    • a new partnership between social media companies and government to tackle people smuggling content online. Backed by a new Online Capability Centre, it will undermine and disrupt organised crime groups using the internet to facilitate these journeys.

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