The Crown Prosecution Service publishes new guidance on handling illegal entry to UK via small boats and lorries

News / / London

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has published guidance for the handling of illegal entry to the UK via small boats and lorries: “Organised Facilitation – Vehicles and Boats- 08 July 2021 Legal Guidance, International and organised crime”.

The approach was agreed following close consultation between the CPS, Home Office (Immigration Enforcement and Border Force), the National Crime Agency and policing.

Key changes in the guidance include updated sections on:

Vehicles/small boats and larger vessels: This sets out the charges that should be considered for drivers/pilots and the evidential requirements needed to prosecute. This would include first responder accounts from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and migrants who have agreed to assist in steering the boat in exchange for passage and evidence showing one person in control throughout.

Passengers: The guidance clarifies that the approach to passengers of vehicles and small and large boats should be the same, stating: “it is unlikely that those who are simply occupants would be prosecuted”, adding that the “focus for prosecutions should be on those with more significant roles, i.e. those that facilitate the entry”. Furthermore, if passengers are intercepted or rescued at sea it is unlikely that any offence of illegal entry has been committed in law.

Prosecution strategy/international enquiries: Prosecutors and investigators will work together from the outset of a case, providing early investigative advice to build cases, and develop a prosecution strategy, particularly over who should be treated as a victim, witness or suspect. In addition, international enquiries should be considered in all cases from an early stage in order to establish links between the UK suspects and overseas facilitators.

Offences under s.25 Immigration Act 1971 are “lifestyle offences” for the purposes of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and as part of the prosecution strategy, a financial investigation will be carried out in parallel.

To read the new guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service, click here.

For more information and advice, please contact a member of the Regulatory Solutions team.

Colette Kelly

Colette Kelly Partner, Criminal and Regulatory Solicitor