Border force officials trained to turn around with canoes in the English Channel, images suggest.
Human rights group Channel Rescue carried out patrols along the coast and said it captured jet skis on Monday trying to hijack inflatable boats full of people.
“We are currently seeing what looks like pushback drills by Border Force jet skis in the English Channel,” they wrote.
“We’re not 100% sure, but two jet skis appear to be doing circular maneuvers around rubber dinghies with border force ships full of people watching.”
They claimed people were sitting on the tubes of the dinghy, copying the way boats are filled with migrants on dangerous crossings.
The group then claimed to have seen a jet ski strike the back of the canoe and turn it around.
The suspected drill was spotted off Kingsdown near Deal at midday.
It comes just days after Priti Patel reportedly ordered authorities to rewrite maritime laws to allow the Border Force to intercept ships as they enter British waters.
Contacted by Metro.co.uk, the Home Office did not deny that they were “pushback exercises”.
A spokesperson commented: “We are seeing an unacceptable increase in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings, which is why we continue to explore all available options to reduce these numbers.
“Our main objective is to prevent people from entering the English Channel, to fight responsible criminal gangs and to protect lives.
“As part of our ongoing operational response, we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options for stopping small craft.
“All operational procedures used at sea are compliant and performed in accordance with national and international law. “
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has already called the move “extremely dangerous” and added that it could actively endanger people’s lives.
He called for safe routes to end dangerous crossings and protect lives, not “violent pushbacks”.
In a separate Twitter thread, Channel Rescue also explained why the pushbacks are “cruel, inhuman and illegal.”
The organization said: “As soon as a person reaches an EU member state, they have the right to apply for asylum.
“Refoulements constitute a violation of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights.
“They infringe the right of people to due process before a decision to deport them is taken.”
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