Home Secretary Yvette Cooper sets out plan to tackle small boat crossings

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has set out the first steps towards setting up a UK Border Security Command, which the government hopes will reduce small boat crossings in the English Channel. Work to recruit an “exceptional leader” to head the body will begin on Monday, with the government preparing a bill to create counter-terror powers aimed at tackling organised immigration crime.

The Home Office says the command leader – expected to be appointed within weeks – would draw together work of intelligence agencies, police, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force. The measures are Labour’s alternative to the Conservatives’ plan to deter small boat crossings by sending some arrivals to Rwanda.
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer confirmed on Saturday the scheme would be scrapped when he called it “dead and buried”.

Throughout the election campaign, his party promised to divert £75m from the Rwanda policy to set up the Border Security Command. The Conservatives dismissed the proposal, with then-Home Secretary James Cleverly telling the BBC Labour’s border command would do exactly what the government’s small boats operation was already doing. He said by scrapping the Rwanda scheme Labour were “going to do less and somehow hope to achieve more”. “That’s not credible,” Mr Cleverly added. Kevin Saunders, a former chief immigration officer for Border Force, also expressed concern about the government scrapping the Rwanda plan.

He told Times Radio the scheme had caused “unease in the camps in northern France”. “They were very, very worried. And we saw people fleeing to the Republic of Ireland because they didn’t want to be included in it,” he said.

Source: BBC

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