Joint Intelligence Cell set up by UK

and France to tackle immigration crime

A new joint unit of UK and French law enforcement officers working together to tackle organised immigration crime has been involved in the arrest of almost a hundred suspected people smugglers in France since it started work two months ago.

The Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC), which became operational in July, has also played a part in stopping around 500 migrants from making the crossing in small boats.

UK officers working in the JIC come from the National Crime Agency and Immigration Enforcement, working as part of Project Invigor, the UK immigration crime taskforce.

French law enforcement is represented by Police Aux Frontières units. Those officers are working side by side sharing information, feeding into joint operations and investigations, and targeting law enforcement resource.

In the last two months at least four boats have been prevented from setting off from French beaches as a direct result of UK intelligence, while a number of new suspected people smugglers have been identified for investigation.

Of the 98 arrested at least 10 have already been convicted in France, with others awaiting trial or in the French judicial system.

NCA Deputy Director Matthew Long, who heads the Project Invigor taskforce, said: ‘Organised immigration crime is a chronic threat, and the scale and complexity evolves all the time.

‘The JIC was stood up in response to an increasing number of attempted small boat crossings over the summer. It is not just about the exchange of intelligence, but also about joint investigations, and we have had incredible support from our French colleagues.’

He described the gangs as ‘cynical and exploitative’ and that they were putting the lives of migrants secondary to profit.