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Juxtaposed Border Controls

Volume 611: debated on Monday 13 June 2016

13. What steps the Government have taken to improve checks at juxtaposed border controls in preparation for the summer. (905360)

We have invested tens of millions of pounds to reinforce border security at the juxtaposed ports, including through the installation of security fencing, floodlighting, anti-intrusion detection technology, and additional freight-searching contractors, dogs and security personnel. This has been complemented by increased French police numbers.

I welcome the UK border enhancements over the coming summer period. Will there be an exchange of information about those leaving the UK as well as those entering it?

My hon. Friend makes an important point about the sharing of information and intelligence between the UK and France, and it is an essential point to stress in the context of organised immigration crime that may be taking place across the channel. We have significantly stepped up our activities with the French authorities, and that will have a continuing impact in the fight against those who are simply seeking to traffic people into this country.

The school summer holidays are also known to some as the “cutting season”, when young girls can be flown from the UK to have female genital mutilation forced on them in other countries. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that Border Force is equipped to stop young girls being flown out of the UK to be mutilated?

The hon. Lady makes a compelling and important point—indeed, I understand that it may well be debated in this afternoon’s consideration of the Policing and Crime Bill. I will certainly continue to discuss the issue with colleagues across the Home Office, but I can assure her that steps are being taken to ensure that Border Force officers are trained and that we recognise this really appalling crime to a much greater extent.

Given England’s inevitable progression towards the Euro 2016 final, will the Minister reassure me that the juxtaposed border controls will have the resources they need to deal with the number of fans who want to go to France, and to work with the French authorities to deal with the morons who have shamed our country over the last week?

I am sure that all of us would absolutely condemn the actions of anyone who has gone not to watch football but to become involved in violence. We also want to see all the home nations do well in the days and weeks ahead. However, my hon. Friend makes a point about security, and security is being maintained. We have stepped up security screening externally as well as internally, and the French authorities have maintained security at the juxtaposed ports at this increasingly challenging time for the French Government.

Please will the Minister join me, as a Member from Wales, in commending Wales as the first home nation to win its first game at the European championships? Does he believe that the exchange of information with our allies will be improved or worsened by Britain voting to leave the European Union on 23 June?

I think I commended all the home nations in my initial contribution. The point the hon. Gentleman makes is important: we benefit from being able to use European systems to screen people at the border and from being able to have Europol working with joint investigation teams and with police and law enforcement agencies across Europe. I absolutely believe that our position in terms of safety and security is strengthened by being part of those mechanisms and being part of the EU.