Freight News, Road

Calais security measures ‘must be only the start’

[ July 20, 2015   //   ]

Chairman of Parliament’s All-Party Freight Transport Group Rob Flello said that the secure waiting area in the port of Calais and plans to deploy 90 officers to an anti people-trafficking taskforce should only be the start of efforts to tackle the problem.

The measures were announced by Home Secretary Theresa May on 14 July, when it was revelated that authorities at the French port had thwarted more than 8,000 attempts by migrants to enter the UK in just the last three weeks alone – a huge upsurge on the regular numbers.

The measures include establishing a secure waiting area for up to 230 lorries and the deployment of 90 officers to a taskforce attempting to stop traffickers smuggling migrants to Europe from North Africa.

Mr Flello, who is MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement (July 14) on steps to tackle the migrant crisis in Calais and what has and is being done to help the security personnel there – but it is still not enough.

“There needs to be more security personnel to manage the estimated 5,000 migrants now in camps near the town, settlements which are growing due to arrival of up to 150 people every day.”

The Labour MP also called for increased surveillance and interception of the criminal gangs who are trafficking the migrants for monetary reasons in a form of modern-day slavery.”

He added that EU policy that migrants should be processed in the first country in which they arrive was being disregarded, adding: “The current procedure at Calais in which apprehended migrants are released 2km away without being processed is nonsensical.

“All migrants living in the camps near Calais and those apprehended attempting to enter the UK illegally must be fully documented and either relocated back to the country they are from or be processed as a refugee if that is the case.”

He also welcomed the Home Secretary’s offer to host an international event about best practice in lorry security but urged this to happen without delay.