The term ‘organised immigration crime’ is used to describe both the facilitation of illegal entry into, and presence in, the country and also human trafficking.
The most common clandestine ways for migrants to enter the UK are in Lorries or other commercial vehicles transported by rail or ferry, in commercial shipping containers, or in small boats. Organised gangs frequently smuggle people in hard-sided Lorries, more opportunist smuggling tends to be in soft-sided Lorries. Most methods of transport subject migrants to significant personal risk.
Officers from the Roads Policing Unit, Commercial Vehicle Unit, Response and Patrol, and Neighbourhood Policing Teams worked with Border Force and Immigration Enforcement at Fleet Services on Good Friday to encourage haulier drivers to implement better security in order to restrict clandestine entry and disrupt organised crime gangs.
Working closely with Border Force and supporting their Clandestine Entry Penalties Team, officers stopped and searched 35 HGVs.
Teams set up 10 bays across the lorry park to conduct enquiries with hauliers and assist Border Force in recovering outstanding fines which had been applied to haulier companies by Border Force for previously being found with people on board following a border crossing. A total of £2700 was collected in outstanding fines on April 2.
Luckily, out of 35 HGV stops, no one was found in the back of these Lorries.
Hampshire Constabulary’s lead for Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime, Detective Chief Inspector Ross Toms said: “Criminals are making cash by illegally smuggling desperate and vulnerable people into the UK through dangerous methods. By working with Border Force and Immigration Enforcement we are doing all we can to tackle the issue together.
“There are serious penalties for those caught helping to smuggle people into the UK in the back of Lorries. They could be arrested and investigated and their employer could face substantial fines for not having appropriate security.
“We would advise anyone who thinks that there may be people trapped in a lorry or vehicle to report it to police immediately to 999 as a life could be put at risk.”