While most of the attention for the migrant crisis focuses on the port security at Dover, Cobham Services has also come under fire for what locals claim is insufficient perimeter fencing allowing migrants to escape from trucks.
The service station is on the M25, between junctions 9 and 10, which, at first glance, is hardly a likely location of a serious immigrant problem. It is, however, a popular stop-off for truck drivers that have travelled over from France, and illegal immigrants that have stowed away on trucks are taking advantage of the opportunity to succeed in their escape.
Kevin Hurley, Surrey’s police and crime commissioner, revealed that Surrey police have caught 156 illegal immigrants escaping from lorries at the services in recent months. But, inevitably, this is the tip of the iceberg. Locals have added that insufficient fences allow them to walk into neighbouring fields and gardens.
Surrey police regularly deploy a helicopter above the service station. While Cobham Services is under no legal obligation to secure its perimeter, it is surely good business to do so.
With relations fraying with the local community and the police, a solid perimeter fence that helps the police do their job makes the area less attractive as an escape route and also keeps the service’s customers free from the prying eyes of the police helicopter seems to be a good solution all round.
If the services continue to gain a reputation for migrants simply escaping, then inevitably, customers will feel entitled to worry about the security of cars and their belongings, too. So put, if the services cannot keep people in, it cannot keep people out.
Proper security measures are just as important in public areas as they are on closed off-sites, as law-abiding public members feel safer in the presence of clear, visible security measures. A physical fence is the clearest indication that they can feel comfortable in their surroundings, while people jumping from the back of lorries and simply meandering off the site conveys the opposite message. Cobham Services would do well to act now.