Navy takes command of Channel surveillance

The English Channel, seen from the top of the cliffs at Dover (Photo: Matthew Richardson/Alamy Stock Photo).

The Royal Navy takes over operational command of Border Force in the English Channel from today.

The service will be responsible for intercepting boats carrying migrants.

The Prime Minister said the new approach to offshore asylum aims to end the “barbaric trade in human misery conducted by smugglers in the English Channel” and said crossings could reach 1,000 a day within weeks.

“These dastardly smugglers are abusing the vulnerable and turning the English Channel into a watery graveyard,” said Boris Johnson.

“To identify, intercept and investigate these boats, the Royal Navy will from today take operational command of Border Force in the English Channel, taking primacy for our operational response at sea in agreement with many of our partners. international standards with the aim that no boat makes it to the UK undetected.”

Mr Johnson added that giving the Royal Navy operational command in the Channel will send a clear message to criminal gangs.

“This will be supported by £50m of new funds for new boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel,” the Prime Minister added.

Watch: In January, the Defense Committee heard testimony about military involvement in monitoring migrant crossings.

“In addition to the existing task force of patrol boats, helicopters, search and rescue aircraft, drones and remotely piloted aircraft, this will send a clear message to those piloting the boats: if you are risking the life of other people in the English Channel, you risk spending your own life in prison.

“People traveling to the UK will not be taken to hotels at public expense, but instead will be accommodated in accommodation centers like those in Greece, with the first of these due to open shortly. “

The decision to entrust the army with surveillance of the English Channel has been the subject of criticism in the past.

In January the defense select committee was told there was “no spare capacity” to deploy warships to monitor the English Channel, while in the same month committee chairman Tobias Ellwood told Forces News his belief that, “That’s not what our Navy is for.”

A Defense Select Committee report in March also called for a “clear endpoint” to the British military’s role in tackling the number of migrant crossings in the English Channel.