The newly elected Labour government has announced a whole raft of changes since coming to power on 5th July. Among these changes include the scrapping of the high-profile Rwanda policy as well as the topic of today’s news article, the launching of a new UK Border Security Command (BSC).


According to the Home Office, the Border Security Command aims to strengthen Britain’s border security and “smash the criminal smuggling gangs making millions out of small boats crossings”. A Border Security Commander will be recruited in the coming weeks to oversee the direction across agencies including the National Crime Agencies, intelligence agencies, the police, as well as Immigration Enforcement and Border Force.


Collaboration with European partners


In addition to this, the Border Security Command will also bring in more investigators, experts and analysts in an attempt to tackle organised immigration crime. Many of these will be based across Europe and work with Europol as well as European police forces. This underlines a new approach by the Starmer government, in contrast with the previous one, with an increased willingness to work alongside Britain’s neighbouring countries already apparent.


Furthermore, the government will introduce early legislation to introduce new counter terror powers and stronger measures which seek to tackle organised immigration crime. This mention of early legislation suggests that such power will be introduced within the King’s Speech, which will take place on Wednesday 17th July and sets out the programme of legislation that the Government intend to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session.


Yvette Cooper, the Home Secretary added:


Criminal smuggling gangs are making millions out of small boat crossings, undermining our border security and putting lives at risk. We can’t carry on like this. We need to tackle the root of the problem, going after these dangerous criminals and bringing them to justice.


The Border Security Command will be a major step change in UK enforcement efforts to tackle organised immigration crime, drawing on substantial resource to work across Europe and beyond to disrupt trafficking networks and to coordinate with prosecutors in Europe to deliver justice.


Our thoughts


The new government have acted swiftly to scrap the Rwanda policy, dismissing it as a gimmick. Instead, they have decided to redirect that funding towards the newly created Border Security Command. While the prospect of “smashing the gangs” does sound like a potentially fruitful avenue to reduce small boat crossings, it is worth pointing out that countries like Italy and Greece who have prosecuted people smugglers in the past haven’t necessarily succeeded in deterring migrants. Whether the Starmer government will have more success in doing so remains to be seen.


Despite their huge parliamentary majority, the biggest since 1997, Labour will be under big pressure to ensure that their actions speaker louder than their words. The Conservative government’s poor record on illegal migration, and their inability to control legal migration as promised, was a decisive factor in losing them the election. We will see how the government fare in this endeavour, and of course will keep you updated on immigration news going forward.


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