How to fix the Channel migrant crisis? Call for Commander Calamity!

How to fix the Channel migrant crisis? Call for Commander Calamity! Police chief in charge of botched VIP abuse probe spearheads fight against people smugglers

  • More than 10,000 migrants have made the journey across the Channel this year
  • Border Force intercepted 475 migrants in 15 boats on a single day on Thursday
  • Police chief Steve Rodhouse has a lead role in dismantling the smuggler gangs

The police chief who led the calamitous VIP abuse inquiry is spearheading the battle against people smugglers in the Channel, the Daily Mail can reveal today.

Steve Rodhouse has a lead role in dismantling the gangs behind a surge of migrant boats this summer.

Details of his high-powered role emerged yesterday as Downing Street said the rise in numbers reaching Britain was ‘unacceptable’. More than 10,000 people have completed the journey this year.

Border Force intercepted 475 migrants in 15 boats on Thursday, almost surpassing Wednesday’s record daily total of 482. As the crisis deepened, serious questions were being asked about whether the joint deputy head of the National Crime Agency is up to the challenge.

Steve Rodhouse has a lead role in dismantling the gangs behind a surge of migrant boats this summer

As a Met deputy assistant commissioner he was ‘gold commander’ of Operation Midland, which ruined the reputations of public figures including D-Day hero Lord Bramall and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor. 

A judge-led inquiry identified 43 major blunders in Mr Rodhouse’s investigation into sexual abuse allegations that proved bogus.

Mr Rodhouse also led a shambolic probe into a false rape allegation made by a mentally ill Labour activist against former home secretary Lord Brittan.

In a third disastrous investigation while at Surrey Police, he looked into true claims of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile, who was then alive, but failed to bring a case against the BBC presenter.

Mr Rodhouse was promoted in 2018 to be director general (operations) of the NCA under his old boss from the Met and Surrey Police, Dame Lynne Owens.

According to recently published accounts, his pay package last year was around £265,000, far more than the Prime Minister’s.

Mr Proctor said it was ‘beyond parody’ that Mr Rodhouse was leading the Channel campaign.

He added: ‘Britain needs a Robocop figure in charge of policing the Channel, not an over-promoted, overpaid and over-protected gullible chump who brought disgrace on the Met and the criminal justice system when he headed Operation Midland.

‘Steve Rodhouse’s pay package is utterly obscene and for the NCA to describe him as a “capable” deputy to Lynne Owens is an insult to Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and his brave widow Lady Brittan.

‘Rodhouse is not capable as he lacks the ability, fitness or quality necessary to do or achieve anything productive. He is an international laughing stock. No wonder people smugglers operate across the Channel with impunity.’

A senior Home Office source told the Mail: ‘It is right questions should be asked about Steve Rodhouse’s suitability to run operations against people smugglers. He should be hauled before MPs to answer questions.’

Appearing before MPs to discuss illegal Channel crossings in February 2019, Mr Rodhouse was forced to admit he did not know the answers to a string of basic questions. Asked how many migrants claimed a long-lost relative in the UK, he replied: ‘I can only answer that question in part, I am afraid.’

Committee chairman Yvette Cooper told him: ‘It is slightly surprising that you do not know what proportion of those arriving have family links.’

He said he would ‘happily provide a written submission’ with the answers. Asked if the Border Force’s two vessels were at sea he replied: ‘I cannot tell you that, I am afraid.’

Then asked if they were the vessels that had recently sailed from the Mediterranean, Mr Rodhouse said: ‘I do not know.’

A spokesman for the NCA, which is Britain’s equivalent of the FBI, said last night ‘it continued to work with the Home Office who are pursuing a number of tactics including maritime interventions and measures to return migrants which are designed to make Channel crossings unviable’.

He added: ‘We are currently leading 50 investigations into small boats criminality and in the 12 months since we created a joint intelligence cell in France alongside international partners it has been involved in over 300 arrests.’

In response to further questions from the Mail, the NCA said: ‘We have commands led by directors that manage the different threat areas we focus on, including organised immigration crime. These commands report to the director general operations who oversees operations delivered by the NCA.’

Earlier this week Dame Lynne revealed she had breast cancer and might need time off work. Her role could be taken over by Mr Rodhouse, the only one of her deputies with a policing background.

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