Channel Migrant Crisis: UK & France Step Up Coastal Patrols

The UK and France are to step up joint patrols and increase surveillance in a bid to stop an increase in the number of illegal migrants trying to reach the British coast in small boats.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid agreed a joint action plan with the French interior minister during a recent phone call.

On Sunday morning, another 6 Iranian men were found on a beach near Dover having made the 22 mile crossing.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) also said that French authorities stopped a further attempt to cross the Channel on Saturday night.

Following a call with his French counterpart, Christophe Castaner, the Home Office said the pair agreed an “enhanced action plan” to be put in place in the coming week.

The plan is said to include disrupting organised trafficking gangs and raising awareness among migrants of the dangers of a Channel crossing.

Although, many have queried how ‘raising awareness’ will deter individuals who have already spent a considerable amount of time trying to get to the UK from making the crossing.

Currently, only one of the Border Force’s fleet of five cutters is currently operational in the Dover Strait.

The Home Office has not commented as to whether or not the other four cutters would now be called back from search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean to patrol waters off England’s south coast.

Since November, more than 220 people have attempted to cross the Channel in small boats.

They include six men, all Iranian nationals, who were found on a beach at Kingsdown, near Deal, in Kent, on Sunday morning.

On Twitter, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed he had spoken by phone to Mr Javid, and that they were working together “to combat Channel crossings”.

In a tweet, Mr Javid thanked him for the “partnership”, saying the UK and France would “build on our joint efforts to deter illegal immigration – protecting our borders and human life”.

It is unclear as to why the migrants are trying to claim ‘asylum’ specifically in the UK, when they would have had to travel through several European countries in order to get here – any of which could have provided them with the ‘asylum’ which they are seeking.

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