United Kingdom

Border Force detained 400 migrants over the last two days

Nearly 400 migrants were detained by Border Force officers in the last two days alone according to new Home Office figures.

On Wednesday 219 people in 11 boats were intercepted and 175 were picked up in six incidents on Thursday.

It takes the number of migrants to have been detained after reaching the UK in small boats to 8,840 - with nearly 3,000 arriving so far in July alone.

Figures for 2021 have already broken the record numbers in 2020 when 8,410 were detained.

But deteriorating weather conditions in the English Channel over the next few days including strong winds is expected to dramatically reduce crossing attempts.

An inflatable carrying migrant men, women and children cross the shipping lane yesterday

A little toddler was held by their hand as they were brought into Britain after landing

An inflatable craft carrying migrant men, women and children crosses the shipping lane

On Thursday French authorities had to rescue 11 migrants in one small rubber dinghy after they were spotted in difficulties by the crew of a cross-Channel ferry.

The P&O ferry Spirit of Britain raised the alarm after they saw the stricken inflatable off Calais.

French search and rescue vessels picked up the 11 migrants and brought them back into the harbour at Calais while towing the inflatable behin.

Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: *'There is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe.

Child migrants wearing children's lifejackets are seen coming ashore at Dover Marina in Kent

The Border Force arrive to collect occupants of an inflatable craft carrying migrants

The Border Force arrive to collect occupants of an inflatable craft carrying migrants

Priti Patel's plan to pay France £55m to handle migrants trying to cross the Channel: Explained 

Priti Patel has agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel

Priti Patel has agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel. 

The Home Secretary's controversial agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin will see policing numbers along the French coast more than double to 200 to cover a wider area.

There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones. The two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a 'smart border' using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted.

But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters.

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology. This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020.

However, as French interceptions increased, the Home Office said that organised criminal gangs have changed their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys.

Charities branded the measures inhumane, while refugee rights campaigner Lord Dubs said Miss Patel's plans were a 'disservice to this country's history'.

'Earlier this week we signed a strengthened agreement with our French counterparts to increase police patrols on French beaches and enhance intelligence sharing.

This joint work has already prevented over 7,500 migrants enter the UK - nearly treble the number for the same period in 2020.

'The Government continues to take steps to tackle the unacceptable problem of illegal migration through the Nationality & Borders Bill which will protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings.

'The Government is also continuing to return those with no legal right to remain in the UK.' 

People-smugglers have made use of the continuing good weather this week.

Scenes of scores of migrants arriving in Border Force boats has become a common sight throughout July.

There have been children too young to walk that have been had to be carried to the harbour by officials. 

A record-breaking number of people have crossed the Channel already this year, with at least 8,452 people having made the trip, passing the total for all of 2020.

The fallout comes after the Government announced it will send France a further £54.2million to help stem the flow of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

The Home Office said the money would be spent on doubling the numbers of police patrolling France's northern beaches, improving intelligence sharing and on new technology to target people smugglers. 

To tackle this the French have deployed 200 officers to march along an 85-mile stretch of coast between Boulogne and Dieppe. If they worked 24 hours a day, this works out at two policemen per mile - but critics say realistically it is only one.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was also slammed after it emerged whole hotels are being booked up to house migrants. It means those looking to get married or take a holiday there could struggle to guarantee spaces.

The Home Office is tempting hoteliers with large wads of cash for rooms for months, according to the Sun.

A source told the newspaper: 'You have to remember the industry has been devastated by Covid.

'There have been no paying guests for months.

'For a lot of hotels, it's a chance to make guaranteed money for weeks, if not months. You have to be brave not to take up that offer.'

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