Yvette Cooper reveals English Channel migrant drone patrols only happen on weekdays

24 November 2021, 10:30 | Updated: 24 November 2021, 10:38

Migrant crossing crisis: UK doesn't use drones at weekends

By Emma Soteriou

Migrant drone patrols only happen between Monday and Friday in the UK, Yvette Cooper has told LBC.

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The Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee explained some of the details that had so far emerged as a part of the inquiry into the migrant crisis.

The committee has been grilling MPs to get to the bottom of the crisis.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Ms Cooper said: "We found that only five people had been returned to other European countries and that contrasts to - it used to be several hundred a year.

"We've found other problems, for example, gaps in some of the policing and intelligence cooperation - surveillance cooperation.

"All sorts of problems around drones, for example, not happening on the French side of the Channel and only happening five days a week on the UK side.

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She added: "Also, we no longer have some of the safe legal routes for people who have family in the UK."

As a result, she said: "Smuggler gangs are more able to exploit people.

"You've got these appalling criminal gangs who are exploiting this crisis and making huge amounts of money for it. That's where we need that action against those criminal gangs."

It follows Home Secretary Priti Patel's claims that "this problem will take time to fix and... there is no silver bullet", after having faced criticism for an "empty rhetoric and broken promises".

A recent analysis showed the number of people who have made the dangerous journey across the Channel in small boats this year is now three times the total for the whole of 2020.