Migrants' Channel Crossing Figures

16 May 2019, 10:07 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 10:10

Dover

Official figures show more than 700 migrants planned or attempted to cross the Channel to get to Kent in small boats in just over a year.

British and French authorities encountered 562 people in 2018 and 177 in the first two months of this year.

The total includes: 135 people who arrived in Kent without being intercepted; 293 who were intercepted and brought to the UK; 144 who were intercepted and returned to France; and 167 linked to aborted departures from France.

Over the 14 months there were 98 "events" involving migrants attempting to cross the Channel.

A single event can involve multiple boats, although the published data only included one such case, when two vessels were involved.

Fifty-six interceptions, rescues and escorts took place at sea, according to the figures.

Of those 32 were carried out by Border Force, 19 by French law enforcement, three by the coastguard and RNLI, and two by non-law enforcement vessels.

In December, Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a "major incident" and ordered two Border Force cutters to be redeployed to the Channel in response to an increase in attempted crossings.

Mr Javid also agreed a joint action plan with his French counterpart, including more than £6 million investment in new security equipment and increased CCTV coverage of beaches and ports, air surveillance and shared intelligence.

Earlier this year law enforcement chiefs told MPs that migrants pay thousands of pounds to cross the Channel and in some cases even seek out authorities by dialling 999 from their boats.

The Government's response has come under fresh scrutiny after further incidents recently.

At the weekend a total of 42 people, including 10 children, were brought to Dover after authorities intercepted three small boats.