Border Force officers in patrol boat are spotted scouring Suffolk coastline


A Border Force patrol boat has been seen scouring the coastline near an upmarket Suffolk village today.

At least three border force officers wearing protective gear were spotted in the vessel by a passerby off the coast of Walberswick. 

The well-off town has been dubbed ‘Chelsea-on-sea’ by locals due to it being a favoured ‘bucket and spade’ destination for affluent families from London.

It is not known why the vessel was patrolling the water.

Parts of the Suffolk coastline are used as landing spots for refugees smuggled across the North Sea in yachts and boats.

MailOnline has approached the Home Office for comment. 

A Border Force patrol boat has been seen scouring the coastline near an upmarket Suffolk village today

So far at least 1,028 migrants landed in Britain in May alone. 

More people have arrived in May than any previous month this year, with 3,136 migrants arriving in 2021 so far.

The figure is more than double the 1,330 who had arrived by May 15 last year.

A Home Office spokesman said last week: ‘Criminal gangs are putting people’s lives at risk through these dangerous and unnecessary crossings.

‘We are bringing legislation forward through our New Plan for Immigration which will break the business model of the people smuggling networks and save lives.’

Earlier this week, it was revealed that illegal migrants who have overstayed their visa will have access to benefits such as the NHS automatically restricted under new plans to revolutionise the UK’s border controls.

Illegal migrants who have overstayed their visa will have access to benefits such as the NHS automatically 'switched off' under new plans to revolutionise the UK's border controls

Illegal migrants who have overstayed their visa will have access to benefits such as the NHS automatically ‘switched off’ under new plans to revolutionise the UK’s border controls

The plans, which were published on Monday, involve the introduction of digital visas which could come into effect as soon as 2025 and would allow the Government to  restrict access to ‘benefits, services and work’ if their visa has expired.

The digitisation of the country’s borders will allow different Government departments to share real-time data with each other and even with employers.

The Government believes the changes will reduce ‘the major pull factors for illegal migration’.

The document states: ‘The accuracy and richness of operational data captured with the new model for digitising the border will enable greater certainty on whether a person is “in” or “out” of the UK at any given point in time.

‘The use of automation to generate, or update, a digital status from a border crossing outcome event will enable the ability to accurately calculate and share a person’s status with third parties and other Government departments that give access to benefits, services and work to those who are eligible.

‘It will also deny them to those here illegally or without the necessary entitlements, reducing the major pull factors for illegal migration.’

The document states an online service will be used to prove immigrants’ right to work or right to rent.

It will also allow system to system sharing of information with other government departments to enable access to public services such as the NHS. 

In an overhaul of border control, digital visas will allow Government departments to share data that can be used to prove immigrants' rights to work or receive benefits and access to the NHS

In an overhaul of border control, digital visas will allow Government departments to share data that can be used to prove immigrants’ rights to work or receive benefits and access to the NHS

The changes mean that departments such as the DWP would be able to automatically check an applicant’s immigration status before approving universal credit payments, for example.

Similarly, job applicants would no longer be required to prove their status because employers would already have access to the information.

The Government says the work towards a digital system for immigration status will ‘reduce costs and improve border security by reducing the possibility of forgery or theft’ of identity documents.

Priti Patel dodged the question of whether her major overhaul of the UK’s immigration system will result in an increase or decrease in annual net migration when announcing the plans on Monday.

On Monday Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) promised the wholesale reform of the UK's 'broken' immigration system as she unveiled plans for a 'fully digital border' within five years

On Monday Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) promised the wholesale reform of the UK’s ‘broken’ immigration system as she unveiled plans for a ‘fully digital border’ within five years

The Home Secretary vowed to ‘fix’ the ‘broken’ system as she claimed public confidence in British border control had been ‘shot to pieces’ in recent decades.

She hailed the introduction of the UK’s new Australia-style points-based immigration system and confirmed a crackdown on people arriving in Britain illegally as she said it is a ‘sheer fantasy to say that we can give a home to anyone’.

But she refused to be drawn on whether the overhaul will see net migration go up or down as she said she did not want to ‘get into the language of old’.

Responding to a question on the issue after her speech, Ms Patel added: ‘This is not about the language of old and I am not going to get into that at all and of course on numbers, well, I think the big news actually is through the reform and my plans is that we will have greater accuracy on numbers.

‘We will be able to count in and count out who is in our country for the first time ever so we don’t have to work around the hypotheticals around net migration targets or numbers or things of that nature and even speculate about whether or not numbers will go up and down.’ 

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