Suella Braverman today praised ‘real victories’ as she signed a new deal with France to tackle the Channel’s migrant crisis.
The pact agreed by the Home Secretary – accompanied by a funding package of £63 million a year – includes a 40 per cent increase in the number of officers patrolling beaches.
British personnel will also be embedded in French control rooms for the first time as part of the historic plans to curb dangerous small boat crossings as the number of people making the dangerous journey to the UK this year has reached 40,000 so far this year. exceeded.
Further measures signed in Paris include an investment in CCTV and dog detection teams to monitor ports and plans to better equip officers with drones and night vision capabilities.
Meanwhile, Britain and France have agreed to step up cooperation in this area with European partners, with a meeting of the ‘Calais group’ of neighboring countries to be scheduled as soon as possible.
However, there will be no joint patrols between French and British officers after Paris apparently vetoed the idea.
“It’s not a panacea,” said Mrs. Braverman. “But I think for the first time we have real victories for both the French and the UK.”
It comes as Ms. Braverman investigates a series of plans to find cheaper accommodation for canal migrants, which could house them in unused holiday parks.
Old student housing buildings and budget cruise ships were also mentioned as possible alternatives by immigration minister Robert Jenrick.
Interior Minister Suella Braverman (pictured left) today signed a deal with French colleague Gerald Darmanin (right) to tackle the migrant crisis in the Channel
A group of people believed to be migrants were taken to Dover, Kent, on a Border Force vessel last month
Braverman signed the deal with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin this morning in Paris.
The UK’s annual contribution to border surveillance is expected to rise from around £54 million to the equivalent of just over £63 million.
A new task force will also be set up to address the “recent increase in Albanians and organized crime groups exploiting illegal migration routes” to Western Europe, No. 10 said.
Elsewhere, joint UK-France analysis teams will try to encourage information sharing.
Finally, the deal promises investment in French reception and deportation centers for migrants unable to make the crossing to the UK.
Downing Street said the 40 percent increase in the number of officers patrolling beaches in northern France would “increase early detection”, while the presence of British personnel in French control rooms would increase understanding of the “threat” and increase deployment. help inform.
The strengthening of port surveillance aims to deal with migrants attempting to enter the UK by lorry.
Boat kill smuggler ‘in UK’
A gang member allegedly behind the deadliest drownings of migrants in the Channel lives in Britain and is seeking asylum, a TV documentary tonight claims.
The man, of Kurdish descent, is said to have helped migrants find a seat on an inflatable boat that capsized, killing 31 in November.
The documentary examined those behind the disaster and spoke to survivor Issa Mohammed who told how he “watched bodies float by.”
Presenter Handa Majed can be seen by phone with a source who said the smuggler was seen in Birmingham.
“He came across the Channel in an inflatable boat. He has changed his name and is applying for asylum,” the source said.
The documentary claims the man was put in a hotel in the Midlands and wants to start a business, but it couldn’t find him.
The Crossing will be broadcast on ITV tonight at 10.45pm.
Rishi Sunak said he is “confident” that the number of small boat crossings will decline over time after the number of people making the perilous journey to the UK across the Channel has surpassed 40,000 so far this year. .
Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Indonesia for the G20 summit, Mr Sunak said he was “delighted” to sign the deal with France, while confirming that the annual amount paid by the UK will increase up to 72 million euros (£63 million).
“A few highlights include a 40 per cent increase in patrols and for the first time British officials are committed to French operations to strengthen the coordination and effectiveness of our operations,” he said.
But that’s not the end of our collaboration. What the agreement says is that it should form the basis for even more cooperation in the coming months.
“When it comes to migration in general, I think the absolute priority that the British people have right now, like me, is to tackle illegal migration.
“I promised I’d get it in the summer. And I can tell you all that in the past few weeks I’ve spent more time on that than anything else—except, of course, the fall statement.
“Look, I’ve been honest that there’s nothing to fix it and we can’t fix it overnight.
“But there are some things I’m working on, including the French deal, where I’m confident we can lower the numbers over time and that’s what I’m going to deliver.”
Britain has paid around £175 million to France since 2018 to guard the Channel border.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly declined to specify a target on how much a new deal with France on migrants could reduce crossings.
He told TBEN Breakfast: ‘We want to cut the numbers significantly. That’s the whole point of these arrangements.
He defended the scale of the spending to tackle the problem, saying: “It’s about trying to spend less money than we currently have to spend on housing migrants.”
“While the numbers are unprecedented, it is important to recognize that this arrangement has had a positive effect. Not at the level we would like, which is why we have updated this agreement with France.’
He insisted that the government is “working on every point in this chain.”
Jenrick has vowed to end ‘Hotel Britain’, where taxpayers spend £6.8million a day to place migrants in ‘unsuitable’ accommodation.
‘Hotel Britain must end and be replaced with simple, functional accommodation that does not create any additional appeal,’ Jenrick wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
He added: ‘Housing these record numbers is a huge challenge, and a chronic shortage of acceptable accommodation has forced the government to purchase expensive and often unsuitable hotels at an unacceptable cost to taxpayers.
‘Human decency must be accompanied by stubborn common sense: illegal immigrants have no right to luxury hotels.’
The government’s move came after the preliminary total number of migrants arriving in Britain by small boats this year reached 40,885 – with more expected yesterday.
Thousands have been waiting for more than a year for their asylum applications to be processed. Shockingly, 725 people, including 155 children, have been waiting for more than five years, the Refugee Council charity said.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the system was under “incredible pressure”, adding: “We are doing everything we can to address this issue. We increased the number of caseworkers by 80 percent to over 1,000, and a successful pilot doubled the average number of asylum applications processed by caseworkers. We are now rolling this out across the country.’
The spokesperson also said that requests from children will be prioritized “where possible”.