Britain has appointed a former Royal Marine to lead its response to tackling illegal small boat crossings across the Channel.
Dan O’Mahoney has been named as the Clandestine Channel Threat Commander and, together with the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration Compliance, he will have primary responsibility of making the Channel route unviable for small boat crossings.
Mr O'Mahoney will work closely with the French to build stronger enforcement measures and adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.
"This role is vitally important in the fight to end the heinous crime of people smuggling across the Channel," he said.
"I look forward to working closely with the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration Compliance as well as with law enforcement bodies in the UK and France to bring to bear every capability available to tackle this critically important issue."
More than 4,000 migrants have reached the UK in 2020 by crossing the English Channel in small boats.
It was reported that another 151 migrants arrived in the UK after crossing the dangerous Dover Strait on Saturday, taking advantage of a spell of hot weather and calm sea conditions.
The Ministry of Defence says it has received a formal request from the Home Office to support UK Border Force in the Dover Straits, where migrants have been attempting to enter the UK.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently declined to rule out using the Royal Navy to patrol for migrants crossing the English Channel.
Mr O'Mahoney served in the Royal Marines, including operational deployments in Kosovo and Iraq.
Since then, he has worked as the Director of the UK’s Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC) where he was responsible for bringing together 15 agencies involved in Maritime Security to provide intelligence, data and situational awareness in UK waters and across the globe.
He is also a trustee of a military charity concerned with mental health support and resettlement into civilian life which has raised close to three quarters of a million pounds since 2013.
Cover image: Home Secretary Priti Patel and Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander (Picture: Home Office).