Yvette Cooper launches recruitment of Border Commander to smash the gangs

Labour will kickstart plans to strengthen Britain’s borders with a new unit to smash the criminal smuggling gangs bringing people across the Channel.

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the new Border Security Command will be a “step change” in tackling organised crime and ending the small boats crisis.

The hunt begins on Monday for the head of the new unit, who is expected to have experience at senior levels of policing, intelligence or the military. The new boss is expected to be in place within weeks, working with intelligence chiefs, police, immigration enforcement, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

It comes after the Prime Minister said the Tory plan to deport migrants to Rwanda deportation was “dead and buried”. The last two migrants detained as part of the doomed scheme are expected to be released.

The Government has vowed to tackle the small boats crisis

The Government has vowed to tackle the small boats crisis

The new Home Secretary has ordered an urgent probe into the latest smuggling routes and tactics used by gangs across Europe. Officials are drawing up legislation for new counter terror style powers and stronger measures to tackle organised immigration crime.

Ms Cooper said: “Criminal smuggling gangs are making millions out of small boat crossings, undermining our border security and putting lives at risk. We can’t carry on like this. We need to tackle the root of the problem, going after these dangerous criminals and bringing them to justice.

“The Border Security Command will be a major step change in UK enforcement efforts to tackle organised immigration crime, drawing on substantial resource to work across Europe and beyond to disrupt trafficking networks and to coordinate with prosecutors in Europe to deliver justice.”

At his first press conference since entering No10, Keir Starmer said: “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent. Look at the numbers that have come over in the first six-and-a-bit months of this year, they are record numbers – that is the problem that we are inheriting.” He added: “It’s had the complete opposite effect and I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent.”

A spokeswoman for Ms Cooper confirmed that two migrants who remain detained will be bailed over the coming days.