UK and Turkey Strike New Deal to ‘Disrupt and Dismantle’ Smuggling Gangs

The UK and Turkey have struck a new deal to address the surge in illegal migration, which will focus on co-ordinated actions to “disrupt and dismantle people smuggling gangs”.

Central to the partnership is the establishment of a new operational “centre of excellence” by the Turkish National Police.

Supported by the UK, the centre is to focus on addressing organised immigration crime by enhancing the alignment of intelligence between the two nations.

A new memorandum of understanding will also facilitate the swifter exchange of customs data, information and intelligence between UK and Turkish authorities, bolstering the collaborative efforts to disrupt the supply chain of materials employed in illegal migration.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “As I’ve made clear, we must do everything we can to smash the people smuggling gangs and stop the boats.

“Our partnership with Turkey, a close friend and ally, will enable our law enforcement agencies to work together on this international problem and tackle the small boat supply chain.”

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said about the deal: “We will be intensively sharing intelligence, people and technology to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling gangs and the manufacture and supply of materials which enable small boat crossings.

“Having met our partners in Europe, North Africa and indeed Turkey recently, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits our increased co-operation has on stopping the boats.

“I am determined that the UK is a leading force in tackling illegal migration and a partner to all those allies who share our determination to defeat it.”

The new operational centre will aim to strengthen collaboration between the National Crime Agency and Home Office Intelligence staff based in Turkey and their Turkish counterparts. And the UK will deploy more officers in Turkey to enable collaboration on joint operations to disrupt the criminal gangs who are facilitating illegal journeys.

According to the Home Office, the export of small boats and boat parts across the continent of Europe in order to facilitate illegal crossings to the UK is a vital element of people smugglers’ tactics.

It said it is estimated that hundreds of small boats and boat parts are transported through Europe each year for this purpose.

The reinforced collaboration between the UK and Turkey will take centre stage at the upcoming UK-Turkey Migration Dialogue meeting, scheduled for the autumn in London.

The deal comes after Mr Jenrick’s visit to Turkey last month, where he visited the Turkish-Bulgarian Border Check Point at Kapikule – the largest and busiest border crossing point in Europe.

People boarding the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge at Portland Port in Dorset (James Manning/PA)
People boarding the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge at Portland Port in Dorset (James Manning/PA)

The announcement is also one of a series the Government will be making as part of its “stop the boats” week.

On Monday, and after weeks of delays, the first 15 asylum seekers boarded the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Around 50 people were expected to move onboard the giant vessel, docked in Portland Port in Dorset, but around 20 were granted a last-minute reprieve after a series of legal challenges.

The Government also announced the launch of a new interdepartmental team, the Professional Enablers Taskforce, which will work with industry bodies and law enforcement to “increase enforcement action against lawyers who help migrants exploit the immigration system”.

The task force drew criticism, though, with the Law Society accusing the Government of “lawyer-bashing” with the announcement of work that is not new.

The Justice Secretary Alex Chalk defended the Whitehall unit, for which there is no new funding, insisting it will ensure advocates who are found to be responsible for submitting fraudulent claims are “convicted, punished and disgraced”.

Source : Yahoo

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