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Number of people crossing English Channel nearly doubles 2020 record


By PA News

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Nearly double the number of people have travelled across the English Channel in 2021 compared to last year’s figures.

More than 16,400 people had made the dangerous journey so far this year in small boats by Friday, according to available official Home Office data compiled by the PA news agency.

Last year’s total was more than 8,400 – meaning this year’s figure to date is closing in on doubling the 2020 total.

A group of people are escorted by police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A group of people are escorted by police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Further channel crossings were witnessed by PA over the weekend.

On Sunday, a Border Force coastal patrol vessel was seen arriving in Dover full of people as well as a lifeboat with around 40 or 50 people, including families and young children, on board.

From 8am to 12.30pm, it was estimated around 150 people had arrived.

Those who were arriving were seen all wearing blue surgical face masks and orange lifejackets.

Later on, a group of people, thought to be migrants, were escorted by police and Border Force officers away from the beach at St Margaret’s Bay.

They had landed on the beach in a small boat following a number of arrivals from the Channel.

In October last year, a Kurdish-Iranian family, including small children, died when their migrant boat sank off the French coast.

A man carries a young child of a boat in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A man carries a young child of a boat in Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Last month, a 27-year-old man from Eritrea died after he and four others jumped overboard as their boat started to sink.

Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine channel threat commander, said: “The Government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.

“But this is a complicated issue requiring changes to our laws. The Government’s New Plan for Immigration provides the only long term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life.”

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