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Home Office May Use Nets to Stop Channel Crossings

Home Office May Use Nets to Stop Channel Crossings

The Home Office is considering permitting the use of nets to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel small boats to the UK to claim asylum.

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Home Office May Use Nets to Stop Channel Crossings

The Home Office is considering permitting the use of nets to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel small boats to the UK to claim asylum.

The claim has been made by a former Royal Marine who was tasked with preventing the journeys. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Dan O’ Mahoney said that nets could be used to cog propellers and bring boats to a standstill as they attempt to make the crossing over the Dover Strait.

He said:

“It’s that type of thing, yes. So, safely disabling the engine and then taking the migrants onboard our vessel.”

This proposed tactic is the latest to be considered in by the Home Office in its attempts to deter migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats.

Migrants in Boat in Channel

Covid-19 has led to an increase in those attempting to cross the Channel. [Image credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire]

The number of people arriving in the UK in small boats has increased nearly four-fold this year to more than 7,000. However, the total number of asylum applications received by the UK government between April and June nearly halved compared with the first three months of the year.

“Nets one of a number of methods” considered

O’ Mahoney told the Telegraphs that the nets were one of a number of methods considered “which we may deploy over the next few months.”

He said:

“Given that we’re not using them (nets) yet I’m not at liberty to go into detail about them … We are working with maritime security departments across law enforcement and military, everywhere across government [to] come up with new tactics to tackle this problem”.

O’Mahoney added:

“We definitely are very, very close to being able to operationalise a safe return tactic where we make an intervention safely on a migrant vessel, take migrants onboard our vessel and then take them back to France.”

Part of a Four-Stage Plan

O’Mahoney used the interview to set out a four-stage plan to tackle the issue of undocumented migrants.

This includes:

  • Use social media to attempt to stop the flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East into northern France
  • Physically prevent entry to the UK
  • Reform Britain’s asylum system

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, labelled the UK asylum system as “fundamentally broken” and promised new laws to deny asylum to those using unofficial routes to enter the UK.

Priti Patel in Parliament

Home Secretary Priti Patel labelled the UK’s asylum system as “fundamentally broken” last week. [Image credit: The Mirror]

Speaking at the virtual Conservative party conference, Patel said she would bring in legislation next year to stop “endless legal claims” from refused asylum seekers and said she was willing to face “being unpopular on Twitter” in order to bring down the number of claims.

The Home Secretary also said that “those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers, the Labour Party – they are defending the indefensible”, as we reported last week.

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