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Border Force refuse orders to turn migrants boats around mid-Channel


Migrants making the crossing across the English Channel to the UK were seen kissing the pebbles on the beach this week after the RNLI brought them ashore.

Images showed a group huddled together on the beach while another migrant was seen pressing their palms against the pebbles and kissing the beach.

The scenes, which come as Border Force officials refuse to implement Priti Patel's plan to turn back migrant boats, came just hours after another 20 people were brought ashore by officials into the port of Dover in Kent. 

Figures show more than 21,000 have now crossed the Dover Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping routes, by boat this year - which is more than double the number for last year.

The latest scenes come after the home secretary announced her plan to turn back migrants in a Tory conference last month after she took legal advice.  

Ms Patel's plans would see migrants boats intercepted and turned back to France by officers on jet skis. 

Border Force has so far rejected requests to use Ms Patel's new strategy, citing objections such as weather and size of boats being intercepted.

This week immigration officials said they did not think the policy would be implemented because of conditions which have to be met and the agency's lack of support for it. 

According to The Times, a Border Force officer claimed: 'There is fairly universal agreement that this is not likely to ever happen.

'The captains of the cutters have control of the process and in practice, if they're not willing to use it, it will never happen.' 

Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, which represents frontline Border Force staff, said the tactics were unlikely to be used because safety at sea was paramount and due to the risk of death.

She also said the force cannot turn back a vessel in trouble unless the French are there to receive it and they won't cooperate with the policy because they do not think it is 'legal.'