As security tightens at the port of Calais, the city of Caen is fast becoming the pressure point for illegal migrants intent on reaching the UK by whatever means possible – usually on the back of a truck.
Today (Wednesday 30 May), the RHA’s managing director – policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire Show on BBC2 to discuss the dangers hauliers face as the situation at the port continues to get worse. He told her of truckers running the gauntlet of violence and intimidation as migrants try to cross the Channel into Britain.
Commenting, he said: “We have evidence of real and present threat to the lives of lorry drivers who are just trying to do their job – getting goods to the UK. Real problems occur when lorries are forced to stop by makeshift roadblocks where migrant gangs attempt to get on board – frequently with threats of violence. We have also been told of threats of rape towards female drivers. There’s no question that the risk to drivers is significant and the situation is deteriorating.”
Asked about the plight of migrants, Rod McKenzie said the RHA understands why they gather at Channel ports as the UK is seen as a very attractive destination, but the French authorities need to do more to ensure hauliers can operate safely. He said: “Drivers have a human right to a complete their journeys in safety, and while we acknowledge that the police and security forces are doing their best, they are heavily outnumbered.
“Since the issue of illegal migrants hit the headlines during the summer of 2015, we’ve been calling for the deployment of the French military – only they have the resources necessary to bring the situation under control. Such is the determination of illegal migrants to reach the UK, fencing and concrete walls are only a very small part of the solution to a Europe-wide problem.”