Europe

Funds to enforce illegal immigration laws are cut by £40m

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The number of staff devoted to policing the problem fell from 5,121 in 2018/19 to 4,855 last year, according to a study by Migration Watch UK.

The think-tank warned the Government that the cross-Channel surge is pulling resources away from other areas – such as catching foreign criminals eligible for deportation.

Despite promising a crackdown, the Home Office has cut spending from just under £462million in 2018/19 to £420million in 2020/21.

Over the same period, the number of small boat crossings has rocketed from 539 in 2018 to more than 17,000 this year. In 2020, 8,417 people crossed.

Migration Watch says slashing resources “is concerning given that it forms a major part of the Government’s new plan to tackle problems such as absconding and increases the removals of those who may pose a public risk”.

Chairman Alp Mehmet said: “These figures help to underline how skewed the Government’s priorities have become.

“Even as illegal entries rose year to year, there has been a drop in spending and staffing numbers for the very department tasked with enforcing the law.

“Especially in light of the worsening chaos in the Channel, there needs to be a huge boost in resources for this task.”

Overall, spending on Border Force to patrol the Channel increased by more than £140million between 2018/19 and 2020/21 while 1,100 more staff were added. A Home Office spokesman said: “We are using every tool at our disposal.

“Our enforcement officers continue to work day and night to remove those with no right to be here, including dangerous foreign criminals. This is complex. Our New Plan for Immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix the broken system.”

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