The “enhanced agreement” reached today between the United Kingdom and France will strengthen operations to stop people smuggling. The doubling of the number of gendarmes patrolling the 150 km stretch of coastline from Tuesday is the latest attempt to prevent people from crossing dangerously in small boats.
The agreement between Interior Minister Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin will also see the deployment of surveillance technology.
It is hoped that the use of drones, radar equipment, optics and stationary cameras means that officers are in the right place at the right time.
The United Kingdom and France also agreed on steps to provide adequate housing for migrants in France so that they do not fall into the hands of criminal gangs.
There will also be an increase in border security at ports in northern and western France in an effort to prevent smuggling and to prevent people trying to enter the UK illegally from shipping traffic.
“Today’s agreement represents an important moment for our two countries, as they work to intensify our joint work to tackle illegal immigration,” the Minister of Interior said.
“Thanks to more police patrols on French shores and enhanced intelligence-sharing between our security and law enforcement agencies, we are already seeing fewer migrants leaving French shores.
“ The measures that we have jointly agreed upon today go further, as the number of police officers on the ground in France has doubled, increased surveillance and the introduction of new advanced technology, which represents another step forward in our common mission to make the crossing of canals completely unviable.
“In addition to these new operational plans, we will introduce a new firm and fair asylum system, and will introduce new legislation next year to fulfill this commitment.”
The Ministry of Interior reported that the percentage of crossings that were intercepted and stopped has risen from 41 percent last year to 60 percent in recent weeks.
British and French law enforcement agencies work closely together through the Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC).
Since its launch in July, it has been credited with helping secure some 140 arrests and halting nearly 1,100 crossings.
The United Kingdom says it can support migrants in accommodation centers and advise them on how to seek asylum in a safe “third country”.
This year, the Immigration Department convicted 57 people of people smuggling with sentences of more than 138 years.
46 people were convicted of crimes related to crossing small boats, with penalties totaling more than 26 years.
For operational reasons, the number of officers who would patrol the French coast was not revealed.