Figures released this year show an increase of 12 per cent in the number of fines that were issued to any haulage operator found to be carrying illegal migrants on, or in their vehicles.
Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said: “These latest figures clearly show that the situation on the other side of the Channel is getting worse. We are getting regular reports from members making the Calais/Dover crossing that despite the ‘Jungle’ being dismantled last October, the number of migrant’s intent on reaching the UK is increasing. We advise all hauliers crossing the Channel to adhere to the Home Office advice regarding precautionary and safety measures.
“These drivers are doing a great job and the economy on both sides of the Channel is massively dependent upon them. However, with the best will in the world, if they have to halt because of migrant action such as that seen last week when a driver was killed, they have no alternative but to stop their vehicles. When that happens they instantly become sitting ducks for the ever-increasing numbers of people-traffickers who are just cashing in on the situation.
“They will stop at nothing to make money and the migrants themselves are prepared to pay them; whatever the cost.
The situation is one that has involved much speculation, with the migrant crisis at Calais and Dover not ceasing to be resolved any time soon, many are finding it difficult to correctly assess how to take appropriate action.
Whilst introducing fines to drivers found to be harbouring migrants might deter those that willingly accept boarder’s for a sum of money, there are still a substantial amount of HGV drivers that are oblivious to the hitch-hikers and for that, are being punished immensely.
Burnett continues to note:
“We now regularly hear of hauliers who are throwing in the towel. They just want to do their job – not face regular acts of intimidation or violence. And who can blame them?
“The situation has now escalated to the point where the frustration on the part of migrants and the ever increasing number of violent attacks has reached the stage where the divers themselves are, in effect, having to police their own vehicles to establish if a migrant incursion has occurred. This cannot be right. The Clandestine Civil Penalty scheme to tackle lax and careless operators was introduced in 1999 at a time when the number of illegal migrants heading towards the UK was considerably less. The playing field has now changed and we believe that the scheme is outdated and must be reviewed.