New PM should embrace Australian-style surveillance to deter Channel migrants - by David Davis

It’s the subject on everyone’s mind but no one is talking about, certainly not the leadership candidates: immigration.


Along with the cost of living it remains the most important issue in many people’s minds: a nation which can no longer control its own borders is a nation that is ripe for take-over.


Former leadership candidate David Davis offers his own policy solution to the current crisis. In an article for the Telegraph he begins with some background information on the government’s adoption of the Australian-style points system which has two elements to it


“one very successful, the other debatable in its effectiveness. Unfortunately we copied the wrong one.


That policy was the practice of deporting illegal immigrants to Nauru as a deterrent, just as we intend to deport ours to Rwanda. It turned out to be formidably expensive, led to 2,000 cases of assault, often against children, and it is questionable whether it had any deterrent effect.

The principal effect was in damaging the international reputation of the Australian government.


What did have an effect was the so-called “pushback” policy. The Australians started intercepting the people traffickers’ boats in mid-ocean and turning them back. The ruthless people traffickers then took to scuttling the boats in front of the Australian sailors, who had no moral choice but to pick them up to prevent them drowning, thereby taking responsibility for them.


So, the Australian government started bringing their own inflatables along, with just enough fuel to safely get back to Indonesia, putting the migrants in them, and pointing the way home. That worked. After a short period of enforcing this policy, the people trafficking industry started to wither, as their “clients” – more accurately victims – discovered that their journey was bound to fail.


It is this policy that we should have sought to emulate, but it would require a degree of sophistication that the Home Office has been unable to demonstrate for decades. It would require a level of surveillance over the Channel that does not currently exist.”


Prevention as they say is better than cure, and current technology would allow us to detect the problem at source.


“Currently Frontex, the European border agency, has incredibly sophisticated surveillance aircraft flying over the Mediterranean, maintaining surveillance on people traffickers attempting to cross from North Africa into Europe. These aircraft carry synthetic aperture radar, long-range optical and infrared cameras, and equipment that detects mobile phones.


All of this kit can look beyond the coast into the North African country involved. This data is streamed back to the headquarters in Warsaw in real time, where it is integrated and used to direct ships to intercept the traffic.


The ironic paradox is that a number of these aircraft, the majority, are provided by a British contractor, and a similar service could easily be put in place over the Channel.


The French will not do it, as it is said that they claim that their privacy laws prevent it. That might bring a wry smile to the face of any French privacy campaigners, given the history of the French state in such matters. It sounds like an excuse to do nothing, but never mind.


We could do it for them. A surveillance aircraft flying in British or international airspace would be able to look into France and detect any groups of people making their way to the coast, and certainly detect them leaving on the routes that the traffickers use. We could easily notify the French police in plenty of time for them to intercept them.


Since the primary driver for any government agency should be safety, no matter the nationality, the French coastguard should intercept these fragile inflatables crowded with people before they enter the major sea lanes that run down the middle of the English Channel. They are about five miles off the French coast and are among the busier sea lanes in the world.


If they do not fulfil their responsibility to prevent this dangerous traffic, we should intervene ourselves. We should meet these boats at the halfway point and turn them back. This is exactly what Frontex has been doing in the Mediterranean for some time. It has been criticised by some NGOs who have claimed that some of the vessels have sunk after being turned back, and this has made it hesitate in pursuit of that policy.”


The full article can be read below with a link to the original here:



Article for the Telegraph by David Davis - Our new PM should embrace Australian-style surv
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Photo: picture-alliance/P. Bonniere

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