France and the United Kingdom create an intelligence unit to combat migrant smuggling across the Channel


Britain and France have agreed to set up a research unit to enable them to share information in order to punish people who smuggle migrants across the Channel.Sunday, the British Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, met the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to discuss the way in which the two governments limit the passages illegally facilitated by small boats.

It was the first meeting of the French Minister of the Interior with a foreign counterpart. The two ministers reiterated their determination to stop the crossings and bring the criminal gangs to justice.

The new research unit will collect, centralize and analyze operational intelligence to prevent crossings and thwart the criminal gangs behind them.

It will be made up of French and British officers and will supply the teams already in place to end the crossings.

“I have been in France today to see firsthand the important work undertaken on this side of the Channel to fight against the unacceptable levels of small boats, alongside the efforts of the Border Force and the National Crime Agency at United Kingdom, “said Ms. Patel. .

“But despite all the measures taken by the police to date – intercepting boats, making arrests, sending people back to France and putting criminals behind bars – the numbers continue to increase”, a- she added.

“It just can’t go on. Today, I signed an agreement with the French to create a joint intelligence unit that will suppress the gangs behind this vile trafficking operation and I made my French counterpart understand the need to stop these illegal crossings for the benefit of our two countries. . It is the start of a new operational approach with the new French Minister of the Interior. ”

Ms. Patel and Mr. Darmanin reaffirmed their joint commitment to return boats in the English Channel to France, rather than allowing them to reach the United Kingdom. The pair said the migrants should not risk their lives to reach the UK, as France is a “safe country” with a well-managed asylum system.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, customs officials continue to regularly see migrants arriving on the British coast. On June 22, officials intercepted 28 migrants off the coast of Dover in the south-east of England. Arrivals came from Syria, Kuwait, Iraq, Ethiopia and Sudan.

In May, Ms. Patel met with the former French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner. The two ministers agreed to increase the deployment of forces, with adequate equipment, on the French coast, with financial support from the United Kingdom.

In 2019, UK immigration police made 418 arrests, leading to 203 convictions for a total of 437 years. Of these 259 arrests and 101 convictions involved smugglers.

Updated: July 12, 2020 10:21 p.m.


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