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Montevideo, November 29th 2023 - 08:43 UTC



Home Office will resume patrolling for irregular migrants in the English Channel

Saturday, February 4th 2023 - 11:17 UTC
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The new SBOC will continue to work closely with the military during a handover period (Picture: MOD). The new SBOC will continue to work closely with the military during a handover period (Picture: MOD).

UK's Home Office is resuming operational responsibility for tackling boats carrying migrants across the English Channel, after eight months under the leadership of the Royal Navy.

A change in the operational control follows last month's announcement that a new Small Boats Operational Command (SBOC) would be created to oversee future Channel crossings.

The new unit, which is part of the UK's Border Force aims to bring together military and civilian staff and the National Crime Agency and plans to recruit 730 additional staff and invest in new vessels, drones and cameras to track crossings and prevent tragedies at sea.

To support this combined force, new air and maritime capabilities including high-tech drones, boats, land-based radar and cameras, will also be introduced under the SBOC.

The Home Office has said the new capability will enable them to track vessels on the water, identify pilots and help to bring those responsible for organizing crossings to justice.

A Government spokesperson said: “Last year we saw an unsustainable and unacceptable number of people risking their lives to reach the UK illegally.

”This simply cannot continue and that is why we are taking immediate steps to tackle the evil people-smuggling gangs behind these deadly crossings and get our immigration system under control.

“The return of Channel primacy to the Home Office, bolstered by 730 extra staff and led by director Duncan Capps, is a significant landmark in our long-term plan to ensure the safety and sovereignty of our borders and our communities.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the Home Office is building on the progress already made through a new deal with France, adding: “Our determination will not waiver until we stop the abuse of the asylum system and bring the smugglers responsible to justice.”

Then prime minister Boris Johnson originally handed leadership for operations in the channel to the Navy last April s a temporary measure but migrants continued to arrive in record numbers. The decision to task the military with policing the Channel received some criticism.

Categories: Politics, International.

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