Child among those crossing English Channel despite near-freezing conditions

Border Force and the RNLI have been busy in the English Channel on Thursday as calm conditions prompted a flurry of crossing attempts.

A young child wrapped in a lifejacket and wearing a beanie hat was among those seen being helped up a gangway in the port of Dover.

The latest crossings could see the total for 2022 so far surpass the figure for the whole of January 2021.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people, thought to be migrants, are brought in to Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Last week it was announced that Border Force officials could take industrial action over Priti Patel’s plans to turn back dinghies in the English Channel.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), whose members include around 80% of the Border Force officials who would be tasked with implementing the “pushbacks”, and the charity Care4Calais have filed an application for judicial review on the pushback policy.

Despite the Home Secretary’s pledge to make crossings an “infrequent phenomenon” by spring 2020, more than 36,000 people have succeeded in reaching the UK in the last two years.

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