People smugglers will be jailed for life, vows Priti Patel

No doubt you will fall for this (again) – big talk and no action. How about you tell our buddies in the EU to do their damn job? How about telling them to stop the human trafficking operation that continues everyday without repercussions? (said many times on my YouTube channel, on the deleted ones and here on the website) Wasn’t this one of the reasons why we left?

Full article from the Times below…

People smugglers will face life sentences under Priti Patel’s plans to crack down on Channel crossings, The Times has learnt.

The home secretary is expected to announce the move in an attempt to increase from three years the average length of sentences for gangsters convicted of assisting illegal immigration.

The longer jail terms are part of a series of deterrent measures due to take effect next year. Ministers fear a rise in crossings this year as migrants try to reach Britain before the law is tightened.

Eighty-seven migrants crossed the Channel in warmer weather on Saturday, pushing this year’s total to 531 — 40 per cent higher than at the same time last year. A further 51 attempts to cross the Channel on the same day were intercepted by the French authorities.

The crossings come in spite of the French stopping three quarters of small boats before they reach British waters — a higher rate than last year. There were a record 8,417 migrant crossings last year, more than four times the number in 2019. The interception rate has been lifted by Britain’s supply of military-grade drones, thermal- imaging gear, advanced binoculars and radar to boost detection on the French coast.

There are fears that migrants crossing the Channel risk importing Covid cases, with one of the adults arriving on Saturday testing positive.

Barely more than a hundred of all failed asylum seekers, including those who made the crossing by the Channel tunnel, were returned last year.

Patel is said to be concerned that the maximum sentence of 14 years for people smuggling is not leading to long enough jail terms. She hopes that upgrading the maximum term to life would increase average sentences over time.

A government source said that there were no plans for a minimum mandatory sentence but added: “If you put it up at the top end, the hope is those currently getting three or four years now will be significantly increased.”

A Home Office source said the move would “send a clear message” that the government considered smuggling people in small boats in the Channel to be on a par with attempted murder. The source added: “We need to be sentencing people on the basis it is practically equivalent to firing rifles into a crowded room in terms of the risk they are taking with other people’s lives.”

The plans are aimed primarily at increasing jail terms at the lower end, such as the criminals who are steering the boats. Even those who are given the maximum 14-year sentence are likely to serve fewer than five years under the present guidelines. A guilty plea would automatically reduce a 14-year sentence to nine years and four months and the smuggler would be eligible for automatic early release on licence at the halfway point, meaning a jail sentence of four years and eight months.

A maximum sentence of life would disqualify anyone receiving it from automatic early release, leading to longer overall sentences. The average jail term served by someone on a life sentence is about 16 years.

A Home Office source said: “At the moment the 14-year maximum sentence does constrain obviously what judges can do because that narrows the range of sentences available. We’re not naive enough to imagine that every trial judge is going to be handing down a life sentence for anyone who’s convicted of people smuggling but by having that option available then hopefully we’ll see [life sentences] used in the worst cases, and then in other cases we will start seeing the 12, 15, 20-year sentences that these people aren’t getting at the moment. We need the starting point for all of these serious sentences to be much higher and that means the top end has to be at the very highest and that means a life sentence.”

The forthcoming legislation will streamline the asylum system, preventingmigrants from making repeated claims if previous applications fail.

About one in seven people who crossed the Channel last year were Iranian; Albanians accounted for one in ten claims, Eritreans one in twelve and Iraqis made up one in thirteen, the Home Office said. The other top nationalities were Sudanese (7 per cent), Syrian (5 per cent), Afghan (4.5 per cent), Pakistani (4.1 per cent) and Vietnamese (3.2 per cent).

Many smugglers operate overseas and so are difficult to prosecute but some of the most significant convictions last year were of smugglers picked up by the UK Border Force operating in Calais. A government source said: “It’s all very well having very stiff sentences but detection is the big problem. A lot of people who work on people smuggling are obviously not in the UK.”