28 JUN 2017

Asking the PM for more border investment

I called for more investment in border officers and technology during Prime Minister's Questions.

Addressing the House of Commons today, I highlighted the 50,000 attempts to break into Britain at Calais last year. It works out at 150 a day – or one every ten minutes.

So I asked Prime Minister Theresa May: "With 150 people a day caught trying to break into Britain, our hardworking border officers are under incredible pressure at the Dover frontline.

"Will the Prime Minister consider the case for more investment in state of the art technology and the recruitment of more border officers to defend our borders and help win the war against people traffickers?"

She responded with a commitment to invest £71 million this year in new technology at the border.

She said: "Our border force officers are doing an excellent job at our juxtaposed controls and in his constituency, particularly the work they are doing to stop illegal immigrants and human traffickers.

"And we have indeed been investing in the system capabilities. £108 million has been invested in the last two years in new technology and a further £71 million is earmarked for that in this current financial year.

"But of course there are particular pressures in Dover. That's why we have also invested more money to maintain security there, and to ensure the Calais camp remains closed.

"And we are making efforts upstream as well, to ensure we reduce the number of people trying to get to the UK illegally.

"The Department for International Development are now putting extra focus on the central Mediterranean route. An extra £75 million is going to humanitarian support there."

The PMQs exchange followed publication of Home Office figures for attempts to cross the Channel illegally.

Since 2010 British taxpayers have paid out £315.9 million on security in northern France. It's time we invested properly this side of the Channel too, and I welcome the Prime Minister's commitments today.

Here in Dover we know that illegal immigration has been a problem for years and remains shockingly high. We need to do more to protect tourists and truckers from attacks by ruthless people traffickers.

If migrants had no hope of breaking into Britain, they wouldn't go to Calais. That is what we need to aim for.

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Charlie Elphicke

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