• Friday, December 02, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Albanian police could be stationed in UK to tackle Channel crossings

Nearly 40 per cent of those arriving over a six-week period from June to July were from Albania.

An inflatable craft carrying migrants crosses the shipping lane in the English Channel on August 4, 2022 off the coast of Dover, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

Albanian police will be brought to the Kent coast to provide the UK authorities with intelligence and to help processing and removal of migrants.

Britain on Thursday (25) said it would work with the southern European country to quickly process and repatriate the large number of Albanians who cross the English Channel in small boats.

According to reports, nearly 40 per cent of those arriving over a six-week period from June to July were from Albania.

The Home Office said Albania has pledged support by sending senior law enforcement officers to the UK.

British home secretary Priti Patel and Albania’s home minister Bledi Cuci have pledged to speed up removals of Albanians with no right to be in the UK from next week, Sky News reported. 

“Large numbers of Albanians are being sold lies by ruthless people smugglers and vicious organised crime gangs, leading them to take treacherous journeys in flimsy boats to the UK,” said Patel.

“Thanks to our excellent levels of co-operation with Albania, we will take every opportunity to speed up removals of Albanians with no right to be in the UK.”

Record 1,295 people crossed the Channel in small boats on Monday (22) and more than 20,000 people have reached the UK this year, government figures show. 

Reports said that adverts in Albanian on Facebook and Instagram were launched on Wednesday (24) to try to deter people from making the journey.

According to the Home Office, the campaign will target those in specific regions in northern France and Belgium.

The Home Office said: “Albania is a ‘safe and prosperous country’ and many nationals are travelling through multiple countries to make the journey to the UK before making spurious asylum claims when they arrive”

“The Albanian government has also offered senior law enforcement support to the UK to provide UK authorities with vital intelligence and to support processing.”

Fewer than 1,000 Albanian offenders have been deported from the UK since a removals agreement was signed last year.

The ISU union, which represents staff working for the Home Office’s law enforcement body, has confirmed an increase in Albanians crossing the English Channel in recent months.

Union spokesperson Lucy Moreton has revealed that the recent increase in Albanians is to replace those who have been arrested, imprisoned and/or deported as a result of increased police activity in the organised crime sphere.

The outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hoped that the threat of deporting people to Rwanda announced in April would deter those arriving in dinghies and small boats.

The Rwanda deportation policy is on hold and subject to legal challenge in September.

Human rights groups argue that the Rwanda policy is unworkable and unethical, and the first planned deportation flight in June was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.

The two candidates vying to replace Johnson – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak – have vowed to push ahead with the Rwanda deportation policy.

Eastern Eye

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