Britain is set to agree a Channel migrant deal with France as early as Monday where the French will put more police on the beaches, pledge to stop more small boats leaving and establish a joint control centre.
The agreement – where the UK will pay France at least £60 million – will see a significant increase in the 200 gendarmes and volunteer officers deployed on beaches in northern France.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has previously suggested she wanted it doubled.France has also agreed that it will aim for a “much higher” proportion of migrants to be prevented from leaving. This year, it has stopped 29,000 migrants – around 42 per cent of the total – compared with a record near 40,000 having reached the UK.The French have maintained that if they could stop between 70 per cent and 80 per cent, it would likely make the route uneconomic for people smugglers.
France has resisted British appeals to allow Border Force officers to join French patrols on the beach because of concerns over sovereignty but has now agreed to a “joint control centre” where British immigration officials will be stationed.“They will be able to work more closely together with their French counterparts and will be able to ensure that they share their very good-quality intelligence,” said a source.
Border Force’s vessels, drones and satellite surveillance can provide vital information on migrants’ movements across the Channel, while British officers will receive live intelligence on people smuggling and migrant movements in northern France for the first time.The deal was signalled yesterday after talks between James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, and Catherine Colonna, the French foreign minister.In a communique, they welcomed progress towards “a significant new UK-France agreement [on illegal migration] and in this respect the conclusion of an ambitious package as soon as possible”.It came as hundreds of Albanians were set to stage a protest on Saturday in front of Parliament over their “humiliation” by Mrs Braverman for being branded as invading criminals.