Inquiry: This inquiry will examine the reasons behind the growth in migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. It will look at the role of criminal gangs in facilitating the growth of this form of illegal immigration and the response of UK and French authorities to combat illegal migration and support legal routes to asylum.
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Note the language used: Home Secretary appoints small boat commander
Priti Patel has today appointed a Clandestine Channel Threat Commander – a new role leading the UK’s response to tackling illegal attempts to reach the UK.
Together with the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration Compliance, Dan O’Mahoney will have the primary responsibility of making the Channel route unviable for small boat crossings.
He will collaborate closely with the French to build on the joint work already underway, urgently exploring tougher action in France, including stronger enforcement measures and adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.
Last month a joint intelligence cell was established with France and joint investigations resulted in 11 more arrests.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling. We are working to make this route unviable and arresting the criminals facilitating these crossings and making sure they are brought to justice.
Dan’s appointment is vital to cutting this route by bringing together all operational partners in the UK and in France. This is a complex problem but across Government we are working to address many of these long-standing issues.
Dan O’Mahoney said:
This role is vitally important in the fight to end the heinous crime of people smuggling across the Channel.
I look forward to working closely with the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration Compliance as well as with law enforcement bodies in the UK and France to bring to bear every capability available to tackle this critically important issue.
Mr O’Mahoney takes up the role having served since 2019 as Director of the UK’s Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC) where he was responsible for bringing together 15 agencies involved in Maritime Security to provide intelligence, data and situational awareness in UK waters and across the globe.
Prior to the JMSC, he has held senior positions in the National Crime Agency, and the Border Crime Command at Border Force Heathrow.
Prior to the Civil Service Mr O’Mahoney served in the Royal Marines, including operational deployments in Kosovo and Iraq.
He is also a trustee of a military charity concerned with mental health support and resettlement into civilian life which has raised close to three quarters of a million pounds since 2013.