The haulers are experiencing issues and are issued hefty fines by the UK Border Force even when they hand over or inform the authorities about the migrants stowed away in their vehicles. The Calais crisis is seriously affecting the industry since the company and haulers are the ones who have to deal with the heavy fines that the authorities impose on the drivers and the company. In a recent incident, a driver was issued with about £19,500 as fine even though he called the rightful authorities and informed them about the migrants. The amount of fines that the drivers are issued has tripled over the years and latest reports show that the drivers are facing up to £2,000 in fine for every immigrant found in the vehicle.
More than 6,500 people have entered the UK by climbing into vehicles, but the actual number of people entering Britain this way is far higher. The drivers can avoid the fines if they can prove to the authorities that they have conducted the necessary checks. Industry people believe that the fines are doing more harm than good since the fine act as an inducement to the drivers to not inform the authorities about the people stowed away in their vehicles. According to the figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act, the number of fines has increased from 998 to 3,319 over the past couple of years.
The drivers and haulers are at risk due to many immigrants attempting to climb onto the vehicles and on top of that the companies have to lose money on fines and legal costs. Most drivers do the right thing and follow company policy and procedure by informing the authorities but instead of appreciating the effort, the drivers end up being fined and penalized. Large scale companies can afford to pay off the fines but most small companies and firms have to bear the brunt of these hefty fines. The unstable situation at Calais has lead to several issues and a difficulty in conducting checks. The drivers feel threatened since there are many people who throw things at the vehicle which is especially dangerous for haulers when they are travelling alone at night.
The manager of the international department at the Freight Transport Association Donald Armour said that the Home Office needs to be more understanding or else the drivers might be too intimidated to reach out to them and carry out thorough checks. But sometimes it is difficult for the drivers to conduct checks since it can get dangerous to get out of their vehicles and check all the locks. Previously only 2-3 people tried to get on to a vehicle but now larger groups of people try to get on the vehicle. Mr. Armour said that the Home Office should not be imposing fines on people if they have carried out all the procedures properly. Checks are especially difficult at night and put the driver’s life in risk which the authorities need to understand. The purpose of these penalties is to ensure that the drivers are taking every reasonable step to stop the migrants from boarding their vehicles according to the officials. Either way the UK needs to spruce up their security system.
Source From: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/05/hauliers-face-hefty-fines-over-migrant-stowaways-even-if-they-alert-police