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Territorial Waters: Undocumented Migrants

Question for Home Office

UIN 47522, tabled on 7 October 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will assess the potential merits of deploying fishing trawlers to patrol the UK coastline to prevent illegal immigration.

Answered on

17 October 2016

Border Force is actively engaged through partners in the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) with commercial fishing operators. The UK’s commercial fishing operators already form a valuable part of the Project KRAKEN network providing ‘intelligence’ reports based on their assessment of unusual activity, however, they are not specifically tasked with official patrolling.

Border security is a priority for this Government. We are committed to countering threats to the UK coastline using an intelligence-led approach and through working with the wider law enforcement community. Border Force has long-standing working relationships and intelligence-sharing practices in place, and is increasing interaction with key partners as well as undertaking joint operations in order to disrupt organised criminal gangs looking to facilitate illegal entry into the UK.

Border Force and operational partners are conducting activity on a number of fronts to prevent migrants from entering the UK via clandestine and illegal means, strengthening the coordination of maritime security assets so that maximum coverage at sea is delivered. Border Force currently operates three cutters in UK territorial waters at any given time.

The cutters form part of a layered approach to coastal defence, including patrols comprising additional law enforcement vessels, on-shore resources and intelligence and surveillance. Border Force has invested in additional coastal patrol vessels (CPV) to complement the work being done by our cutters to combat attempts to smuggle migrants and illicit goods into the UK illegally.

Answered by

Home Office