To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has had discussions with representatives from (a) Kent County Council and (b) Kent Police on the potential merits of providing additional Government support to help deal with illegal migrants crossing the English Channel to enter the UK during the covid-19 outbreak.
29 April 2020
In line with existing processes, we are in regular contact with Kent Police and the Local Resilience Forum regarding migrant crossings in the Channel. These discussions have continued during the covid-19 response and have been factored into operational planning.
Border Force and Immigration Enforcement are continuing to keep the UK’s border secure and have robust contingency plans in place to respond the covid-19 pandemic driven by the latest scientific and medical advice. In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.
Working with the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Border Force Maritime have worked with commercial operators and Port Security Officers to ensure that sightings of potentially suspicious small vessels are reported immediately.
Additionally, Border Force have worked with HM Coastguard to increase safety broadcasts to all vessels in the Channel, encouraging them to look out for and report small vessels. Border Force Maritime continues to encourage the public and industry to report suspicious activity and reduce the threat from organised crime and terrorism. Regional General Maritime teams have been bolstered to further improve their capability to receive and process migrants.
The Kent Multi-Agency Hub brings together officers from the police, National Crime Agency, Border Force, HMRC and Immigration Enforcement to share, develop and analyse intelligence between agencies.