UK police deployed to France to stop migrants

  • 20/08/2015
MIgrants are trying to break into the Channel Tunnel in Calais (Reuters)
MIgrants are trying to break into the Channel Tunnel in Calais (Reuters)

British police officers will be deployed to the French port of Calais to combat gangs smuggling migrants across the Channel.

The officers will work alongside their French counterparts in a "Command and Control Centre", Britain's Home Office said ahead of Home Secretary Theresa May's visit to Calais later on Thursday.

She will be the first British government minister to go to the French ferry port since the migrant crisis escalated earlier this year.

The new centre "will find and disrupt organised criminals who attempt to smuggle migrants illegally into northern France and across the Channel by ensuring intelligence and enforcement work is more joined up and collaborative", the Home Office said.

To be led by one British and one French senior commander, the unit is among the measures in a deal due to be signed in Calais by May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve.

Some 3,000 people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia are camped in Calais in slum-like conditions, attempting to get to Britain by any means necessary.

Eurotunnel said earlier this week that the number of migrants trying to break into the Channel Tunnel in Calais had fallen to around 150 a night, down from a high of 2,000 at the end of July.

While France and Britain have tried to present a united front in tackling the crisis, the issue has strained ties between the two countries.

The deal includes extra French policing units, additional freight searches, and making the railhead in Calais more secure through fencing, security cameras, flood lighting and infrared detection technology.