Interview: Migrant deaths point to need for better detection, intelligence-sharing between countries, says expert

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-30 21:48:23|Editor: xuxin
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LONDON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Secret service agencies working together and new detection aids are both needed to tackle the type of people smuggling that led to the deaths of 39 people found in Britain, a leading security and political expert has said.

"What's needed are effective international intelligence cooperation and the development of technology to detect individuals hidden in trucks, containers and cars," Anthony Glees, a professor at the University of Buckingham, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Police in Britain are continuing to investigate the circumstances which led to the death of 39 people found in a refrigerated container after it arrived at an industrial park at Grays in Essex last week following a short journey from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

"The tragedy needs further analysis, but we do know that only one in every 400 containers is checked," said Glees, an expert on European affairs, security and intelligence issues.

Glees stressed that both more detection equipment and intelligence-sharing are needed. "Without the one, the other is not going to work."

Intelligence-sharing is not just about tip-offs as to who might be on the move across the world but also, and perhaps more crucially, who might be prepared to facilitate people smuggling, he added.

This requires intelligence-sharing from secret intelligence agencies such as Britain's National Crime Agency and Military Intelligence 6, Germany's BND, or the Federal Intelligence Service, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization Interpol and the European Union's law enforcement cooperation Europol, said Glees.

"Interpol and Europol are absolutely vital parts of the solution, of course," said Glees, adding he is concerned that the connection between Britain and Europol might be compromised due to Brexit.

"More is the disgrace that the UK government believes that we can manage without Europol, and rely solely on Interpol if we have to, because that is what No-Deal Brexit and even a Hard Brexit will undoubtedly mean," he said.

Glees believed that the current tragedy needs proper investigation, and it seems certain criminals know people to approach to convey individuals into Britain where they are least likely to be checked, and least likely to be discovered.

Referring to media reports that local people had been telling community police officers that for some months immigrants were seen around the area where the truck's journey ended, Glees said: "Too few police means too little information, and that leads to what are, in effect, open borders for some."

"The 39 were frozen to death in order to allow them to escape heat-seeking detector devices," he said. "That tells us a lot about the route and the particular pathway from Zeebrugge to Purfleet that was taken."

"The tragic irony is obvious: the safest way, from the smugglers' point of view, to bring people into the UK was to freeze them to death. The awful lesson that would-be migrants need to learn is that their attempt to come to Britain could lead to them dying, and nothing can be worth this," he added.

While the bodies of the 39 people have been moved to a hospital for post-mortem identification, police are making every effort to find out what happened to the victims, a process that could prove to be long and complex.

The British police on Tuesday launched a manhunt for two brothers who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.

The 25-year-old truck driver, Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, appeared Monday at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court via video link, while being charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

He has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at the Central Criminal Court in London on Nov. 25. Meanwhile, three people previously arrested in connection with the investigation have been released on bail.