A plan to use nets to stop canoes carrying migrants across the Channel is being considered by the government, it was reported.
Dan O’Mahoney, who is leading Home Office efforts to tackle illegal crossings into the UK as a Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, described the strategy at Sunday Telegraph.
He said British ships could use the tactic before sending migrants back to France.
Mr O’Mahoney said France has so far been unwilling to accept the return of migrants who have been the subject of attempts to return them.
Nets to stop boats in their tracks
He said: “We are certainly very, very close to being able to operationalize a safe return tactic where we safely intervene on a migrant ship, take migrants aboard our ship, and then bring them back to France.”
When asked if the method was similar to the Royal Navy trials, in which nets were used to hook up propellers and immobilize boats, Mr. O’Mahoney replied, “It’s that sort of thing, Yes. So safely switch off the engine, then get the migrants aboard our ship. “
He said this was just one of many methods his team plan to roll out over the next few months.
The number of migrants attempting the perilous journey across the Channel has been exacerbated by a sharp drop in air and rail travel during the pandemic. At least 1,892 migrants made it across the Channel in the first three weeks of September, more than in 2019 as a whole.
Officials develop new tactics
Mr O’Mahoney, appointed by Home Secretary Priti Patel in August, said he was working with people “from across government to find new tactics” to tackle illegal migration across the Channel.
Mr. O’Mahoney used the interview to unveil a four-step plan to tackle illegal migration across the Channel.
His plan is to use social media to stem the flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East to northern France; reduce the number of asylum seekers leaving for the UK; physically prevent entry and reform the UK asylum system.
Phantom Labor Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “The Conservatives’ Channel crossing proposals are inhumane and unreasonable, putting lives at risk.”