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Borders Chief warns the Home Office don’t have ‘the capacity nor the capabilities’ to tackle illegal Immigration

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The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has warned the Home Office has ‘neither the capacity nor the capabilities’ required to manage the “serious, persistent and adept” threat of illegal entry into the UK, whether by sea, land or air.

Mr David Bolt also said in a report on “clandestine entry” into the UK that the surge in Channel migrants could have been prevented if the Home Office had taken tougher action at an earlier stage.

If the Home Office had taken more “decisive action” to show attempting to cross in this illegal manner would not be successful, it “may not have become established in the minds of many migrants and facilitators as an effective method of illegal entry, as the evidence would suggest is now the case,

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“By the beginning of 2019, it was already much harder to stop this threat from growing, and by the beginning of 2020 it appeared to be too late,” he said.

Mr Bolt said that initially most small boat migrants were reportedly Iranians however the growing success of the first illegal migrants making it to the UK in early 2020 meant the route became “increasingly attractive to migrants of all nationalities”.

His report came as it emerged on Wednesday that the number of migrants who have reached the UK crossing the Channel in small boats this year has surged passed 8,000 for the first time four times the amount who made the crossing in 2019.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, Mr David Bolt

Mr Bolt warned the Government that there is “no signs of the threat of clandestine entry reducing and recent evidence pointed in the other direction”.

He said: “While the Home Office has shown some agility in marshalling and reprioritising resources in response, it is hard to avoid the conclusion it has neither the capacity nor the capabilities, in particular in respect of criminal investigation and prosecution, required to manage this threat more effectively,”

“The numbers of attempts and of migrants encountered at each point are undeniably high, and it is clear that the clandestine entry threat is serious, persistent and adept at responding to checks and opportunities.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are cracking down on the vile criminals smuggling vulnerable people into the UK and we continue to improve our response.

“Since the inspection, we have established the Clandestine Threat Command to better coordinate government and law enforcement agencies and the Joint Intelligence Cell in northern France. This has secured 98 arrests in its first two months of operation.

“We are fixing the broken asylum system to make it firm and fair and stop those seeking to reach the UK through illegally-facilitated routes from safe countries.”

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