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Jet skis herd dinghy in apparent rehearsal for turning back migrants

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Jet skis have been seen in the Channel apparently rehearsing how to shepherd small boats back towards France in a bid to stop migrants reaching the UK.

A clip shows three jet skis surrounding an inflatable dinghy before one rides alongside the boat, seemingly in an effort to turn it around.

Introducing the footage on GB News, former politician Nigel Farage said the dinghy had 20 volunteers inside, and claimed the exercise showed Border Force were trialling a way to turn boats back to France.

Mr Farage described the video as having been taken by 'one of my spies on the Kent coast' on Monday morning.  

The channel's Home Affairs & Security Editor, Mark White, agreed with Farage, saying the clip 'does show that Priti Patel appears to be serious, at least in trying to implement this turn back policy in a limited fashion'. 

The video came as dozens more migrants arrived in Kent today after crossing the English Channel with babies among those on board, with figures revealing nearly 2,000 people had arrived in the last week - setting a new record for the year so far. 

Jet skis have been seen in the Channel apparently rehearsing how to shepherd small boats back towards France in a bid to stop migrants reaching the UK

A clip shows three jet skis surrounding an inflatable dinghy before one rides alongside the boat, seemingly in an effort to turn it around

Introducing the footage on GB News, former politician Nigel Farage said the dinghy had 20 volunteers inside, and claimed the exercise showed Border Force were trialling a way to turn boats back to France

Several young children were among a group seen arriving in Dungeness, while immigration officers tended to a woman who had been taken ill after she was brought ashore on a stretcher by police and members of the RNLI. 

Along the coast at Dover, a further group of migrants were brought into the marina on a Border Force vessel. The crossings come amid reports of cooler and slightly overcast weather today with breezy but clear conditions at sea.

A total of 1,959 people crossed the Channel from France in the week to September 10 - the highest total for any seven-day period in 2021 - and at least 14,400 people have now crossed to the UK on board small boats this year.

Figures for the most recent seven-day period, the week to September 12, show 1,876 people arrived. The total for 2021 is already about 6,000 higher than the number of people who made the crossing in 2020, which was 8,410.

The Government is facing huge pressure to reduce the numbers, with Patel promising to pay France £54.2million to tackle the problem, although a £28.2million payment in November failed to stop the crossings.

The Home Secretary is also planning to spend £200million on a fleet of patrol boats to replace Border Force's five ageing cutters, which detect illegal immigration and smuggling.  

A woman carries a child after group of migrants were brought into Dungeness today by an RNLI lifeboat

A RNLI boat with migrants onboard is met by Border Force officers and police at the beach in Dungeness today

Police officers and members of the RNLI carry a person from a boat after migrants arrive at Dungeness today

Migrants walks on the beach alongside Border Force officers in Dungeness today as Channel crossings continue

A group of migrants including children are helped up a pebbled beach by Border Force officers at Dungeness in Kent today

Immigration Enforcement officers and the RNLI assist a group of migrants after they were brought into Dungeness today

A migrant walks along the beach holding a child at Dungeness in Kent today as the Channel crossings continue

Members of the RNLI and Immigration Enforcement officers assist a group of people brought into Dungeness today

A group of migrants walk along the beach at Dungeness in Kent today after arriving on an RNLI lifeboat

Immigration Enforcement officers and members of the RNLI assist a group of migrants at Dungeness today

The 50 migrants at Dungeness were brought ashore at about 2pm and were seen clinging onto the railings of the lifeboat

The 50 migrants at Dungeness were brought ashore at about 2pm and were seen clinging onto the railings of the lifeboat. Police kept a watchful eye as they disembarked one by one and made their way up the shingle beach.

Border Force officers could be seen escorting the arrivals along the pebbled beach to be processed. Meanwhile at Dover - where migrants are usually brought in after crossing the Channel on small boats - one group was detained by 8am.

A man wearing a lifejacket appeared very uneasy on his feet as he was escorted up the gangway by Immigration Enforcement. Some 20 migrants were brought in on Border Force rigid hulled inflatable boats at around 11am.

Border Force cutter Hunter docked shortly afterwards with around 40 migrants on board as the smaller black rigid hulled inflatable boats continued to simultaneously bring others into harbour.

Many of today's arrivals were draped in light blue blankets for warmth as conditions at sea turned choppy and windy. At least 100 migrants are believed to have arrived today but the Home Office is yet to confirm this.

The arrivals come after officials revealed today that UK authorities rescued or intercepted 75 migrants in four boats yesterday. French authorities also prevented 42 people from reaching the UK on three boats.

French police patrol the beach along the Slack dunes in Wimereux, France on Monday

Pictured: French police patrol the beach along the Slack dunes in Wimereux, France on Monday

Pictured: French police patrol along the Slack dunes in Wimereux, France on Monday

A graph showing the number of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats since 2019. The figure has increased each year 

A woman is helped through the water and onto the beach at Dungeness today after arriving on an RNLI boat

Police officers carry a person from a boat after a group of migrants were brought into Dungeness today

A RNLI boat with migrants onboard arrives at Dungeness today as people continue to cross the Channel in small boats

An officer from Immigration Enforcement escorts a child along the beach at Dungeness today

Police officers and members of the RNLI carry a person from a boat after an arrival of migrants at Dungeness today

A man carries a child on the beach today after a group of migrants were brought into Dungeness by an RNLI lifeboat

A RNLI boat with migrants onboard arrives at the harbour in Dungeness today as small boat crossings continue

Police officers carry a person from a boat after migrants are brought into Dungeness by an RNLI lifeboat today

An officer from Immigration Enforcement carries a child along the beach after migrants were brought into Dungeness today

The latest figures take the total number of people to make the crossing in September to 2,034 in 57 boats. So far this year, 14,461 migrants have arrived compared to 2020's record total of 8,410.

Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: 'This unacceptable rise in dangerous crossings is being driven by criminal gangs and a surge in illegal migration across Europe.

'We're determined to target the criminals at every level, so far, we have secured nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 10,000 migrant attempts. But there is more to do. 

'The Government's New Plan for Immigration is the only credible way to fix the broken asylum system, breaking the business model of criminal gangs and welcoming people through safe and legal routes.'

Meanwhile, Border Force officers are set to use X-ray medical technology to confirm the age of migrants arriving here after a string of high profile cases in which would-be asylum seekers falsely claimed to be under 18. 

One spent six weeks as a Year 11 pupil at a school in Ipswich in 2018 before the local authority discovered he was actually years older than he had claimed to be. 

Immigration Enforcement officers and members of the RNLI assist migrants from an RNLI lifeboat at Dungeness today

People are helped by Border Force officers at the harbour in Dungeness today following another set of arrivals in Kent

A RNLI boat with migrants onboard ps met by Border Force officers and police at Dungeness today

Border Force officers and police at Dungeness meet a boat carrying migrants at Dungeness today

A RNLI boat with migrants rescued from the English Channel arrives at Dungeness today

Police officers and members of the RNLI carry a person from a boat after more migrants arrived at Dungeness today

An Immigration Officer tends to a woman who has been taken ill as migrants are brought into Dungeness today

An RNLI boat with migrants rescued from the English Channel arrives at the beach in Dungeness today

Migrants walk across the beach after they were brought into Dungeness by an RNLI lifeboat today

A RNLI boat, with migrants rescued from the English Channel is met by Border Force officers and Police at Dungeness today

At present, social workers study the appearance, behaviour and language of those claiming to be children to assess whether they are telling the truth.

But according to a Government document seen by The Mail on Sunday, X-rays of teeth and wrist bones could be used to more accurately determine a person's age. 

The UK is one of only a few countries not to use scientific methods to check the ages of asylum seekers. Officials are now said to be looking for a private sector firm to carry out assessments at several sites.

The document says: 'The initial estimate is for a requirement of approximately 1,000 assessments a year. However, this will fluctuate, potentially significantly.

'It is understood that the use of X-rays are the most common form of imaging techniques for these purposes, but other methods would not be precluded if they can be demonstrated to be viable and effective and the exact type of X-ray is still to be determined.' 

A group of migrants are brought into Dungeness by an RNLI lifeboat following a small boat crossing in the Channel today

Migrants stand on a beach in Dungeness today after arriving on the Kent coast by an RNLI lifeboat

Members of the RNLI assist a group of migrants as they walk across the beach in Dungeness today

An Immigration Officer tends to a woman who has been taken ill following an arrival of migrants at Dungeness today

A group of migrants are brought in to Dungeness today by the RNLI following a small boat incident in the Channel

The RNLI brings in a group of migrants at Dungeness today following a another small boat crossing in the Channel

An Immigration Officer tends to a woman who has been taken ill as migrants are brought into Dungeness today

Home Office research has found up to 54 per cent of migrants claiming to be children were in fact over 18. 

The British Dental Association has vigorously opposed the use of dental X-rays to determine whether asylum seekers have reached the age of 18, stressing they are an inaccurate method for assessing age.

The association also says it is 'inappropriate and unethical to take radiographs of people when there is no health benefit for them'. 

Migrants rescued from the English Channel by UK Border Force officials arrive at the harbour in Dover today

A migrant rescued from the English Channel by Border Force officers arrives at the harbour in Dover today

Migrants arrive at the harbour in Dover after being rescued from the English Channel by UK Border Force officials

Migrants are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants rescued from the English Channel by UK Border Force officials arrive at the harbour in Dover today

Migrants are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants rescued from the English Channel by UK Border Force arrive at the harbour in Dover today

Migrants rescued from the English Channel by UK Border Force arrive at the harbour in Dover today

A man who is among a group of migrants arriving at Dover today is brought in to the marina on the Kent coast

A group of migrants are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat after crossing the English Channel

A man is brought into Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants sit on a boat as they are brought in to Dover today by a Border Force patrol boat

Migrants rescued from the English Channel by Border Force officials arrive at the harbour in Dover today

Yesterday Alp Mehmet, chairman of the Migration Watch UK think-tank, said: 'Adult migrants claiming to be children has long been an issue at the border, with an over-readiness to accept the word of claimants.

'We are among very few European countries that don't use scientific evidence in verifying age. 

'It has been a major hole in our defences that traffickers have been only too ready to exploit. If this is now going to change, it is a welcome development.'

A Home Office spokesman said: 'We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings. That's why we continue to explore all options available to bring these numbers down.' 

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