Immigration minister Chris Philp said: “As a result of our improved intelligence-sharing with the French and enhanced surveillance, we have stopped approximately 700 crossings in 2021, despite there being a 50 per cent increase in crossing attempts on last year.
“However, we are not complacent. We will step up our activity into spring and are aware there is much more to do to make this route non-viable, and target the vile organised crime gangs who facilitate these dangerous crossings.
“Now we have left the EU we have changed the law meaning those who have travelled through safe countries will have their asylum cases treated as inadmissible. The Government are working as fast as possible to fix the broken asylum system to make it firm and fair.”
Organised crime gangs target days of calmer weather for attempted crossings but at the end of last year, figures suggest the extra surveillance and patrols were starting to have an effect.
Crossing on “red days” (so named because they offer the most favourable weather conditions) fell from nearly 1,850 in September to fewer than 150 in December. More than 9,500 made it across the Channel in 2020, quadruple the number in 2019.
Priti Patel speaking in late 2020 about new curbs being introduced to the UK: