Criminal JusticeSpeeches

Sally-Ann Hart – 2022 Parliamentary Question on the Prosecution Rates of People Traffickers

The parliamentary question asked by Sally-Ann Hart, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, in the House of Commons on 7 December 2022.

Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye) (Con)

What steps she is taking to increase prosecution rates for (a) small boat gangs and (b) other people traffickers.

The Attorney General (Victoria Prentis)

Since we enacted the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 at the end of June, prosecutions for illegal entry and facilitating illegal entry have increased by 250%. We are working across Government to ensure that we can stop the life-threatening crossings and prosecute the gangs behind them.

Sally-Ann Hart

Organised illegal immigration crime is transnational, making collaboration across Europe vital to tackling people-smuggling from source to transit to destination. What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to work with partners across Europe to share intelligence and resources, to ensure that more prosecutions are successfully brought against these reprehensible criminals?

The Attorney General

My hon. Friend is a great champion for beautiful Hastings and Rye. The Government routinely work with international partners to disrupt organised crime groups. The CPS has deployed a criminal justice adviser in France who supports prosecutions on both sides of the channel. We also collaborate with other jurisdictions, for example through Eurojust—the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation—on sharing evidence-gathering where that is appropriate.

Andrew Lewer

To protect increasingly stretched capacity in places such as Northampton for genuine asylum seekers, what steps is the Attorney General taking to increase prosecution rates for those behind the exploitative people-trafficking in relation to migration from high-volume but safe countries in particular?

The Attorney General

The rate of prosecutions for people trafficking has increased enormously: in 2021-22 it rose by 48%, owing to intensive collaboration between the police and prosecutors.

Tom Randall

I share the anger and frustration felt by many people in Gedling about the small boats issue and the traffickers behind it. What assurance can my right hon. Friend give me that frontline operatives are collaborating on the investigation and prosecution of pilots of small boats?

The Attorney General

My hon. Friend has asked an excellent question, but I hope I can reassure him by saying that the Crown Prosecution Service is working closely with Border Force and immigration colleagues to tackle this dangerous offending. The Solicitor General, the Immigration Minister and I recently met a group of those colleagues, and were very impressed by their determination to work together.