The British government is willing to do “whatever it takes” to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from being able to cross the Channel and successfully reach the country’s shores, Dan O’Mahoney, who leads the Home Office’s efforts to deter irregular crossings to the U.K., has suggested.
In a tweet on Sunday, O’Mahoney, who was appointed “clandestine channel threat commander” by Home Secretary Priti Patel in August, said: “I’ll do whatever it takes to stop these crossings. I am targeting every step of the journey to end the viability of the small boats route.”
O’Mahoney’s vow came as The Telegraph reported on a “four-stage plan” that the threat commander is set to roll out over the coming months.
Included in that plan is the possibility of using nets to disable small boats carrying migrants and asylum seekers to the U.K. by clogging up the boats’ propellers.
Overall, the four-stage plan would aim to:
- Leverage social media to deter migrants and asylum seekers from embarking on the journey to Europe from Africa and the Middle East
- Reduce the numbers of asylum seekers making their way to the U.K. from northern France
- Physically bar entry into Britain
- Introduce reforms to Britain’s immigration system
In a tweet sharing O’Mahoney’s own Twitter statement, the Home Office expanded on how it would make Channel crossings “unviable” by “disrupting criminal gangs across Europe…stopping boats from leaving France…preventing entry to the U.K. with innovative tactics” and “deterring migrants by reforming the asylum system & returning small boats arrivals.”
Speaking with The Telegraph, O’Mahoney said he was collaborating with people “everywhere across government to come up with new tactics” to deter irregular migration to the U.K.
Previously, The Telegraph had reported that among the ideas brainstormed by the British government was the possibility of using wave machines to make it more difficult for asylum seekers and migrants to cross the Channel.
Another proposal reportedly suggested turning old ferries into asylum processing centers.
The bid to deter irregular migration to the U.K. comes amid a rise in the number of migrants and asylum seekers successfully crossing the Channel.
According to the BBC, in the first three weeks of September, at least 1,892 migrants and asylum seekers were able to make the crossing, with the number being higher than the total of those who crossed throughout the entirety of 2019.