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11th Sep 2021

Priti Patel approves the use of ‘armoured jet skis’ for border force

Kieran Galpin

Priti Patel

A former Navy chief called it an ‘accident waiting to happen’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorised plans for armoured jet skis to spin migrant boats around in the middle of the English channel, reports LBC.

The so-called ‘personal water craft’ are being used in a Border Force training program that Patel has overseen. The new training sees officers physically rotating boats in the channel through the use of armoured jet skis.

With one jet ski on the bow of the boat, and a second nudging the stern, the idea is that migrant boats can be turned around while in the English channel.

Former Navy chief Admiral Lord West said the strategy could be dangerous, says LBC.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen. It’s not clever and it is problematic,” he said.

He continued to say that too many external factors such as weather conditions and the cooperation of migrants could put people in danger if the boat then capsizes.

The Independent reports that a letter sent to the home secretary from shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds describes the tactic as “appalling”.

It goes on to say that the government risked “flagrantly breaking international obligations” and maritime law.

A Home Office Spokesperson said: “We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings, that’s why we continue to explore all options available to bring these numbers down.”

The statement continued: “Our primary focus is on preventing people from entering the Channel, tackling the criminal gangs responsible and protecting lives.

“As part of our ongoing operational response, we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options for stopping small boats.”

Seemingly not understanding the word ‘safe’, the statement continues to state: “All operational procedures used at sea comply and are delivered in accordance with domestic and international law.”

They concluded: “We will fix the broken asylum system through our New Plan for Immigration, break the business model of people smugglers who put lives at risk and welcome people through safe and legal routes and as agreed at G7 we continue to cooperate with our international partners.”

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