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French minister suggests UK police should be sent to Calais

Published on November 05, 2014

British police should be sent to the French port of Calais to deter a tide of illegal migrants hoping to cross the English Channel, France's interior minister suggested on Wednesday.

Bernard Cazeneuve’s comments came as the French authorities struggle to cope with up to 2,300 migrants in the town and surrounding areas who want to travel to Britain.

In an interview on BBC radio, Cazeneuve was asked if he thought British police should be sent to Calais to assist.

“It would be very useful to have more policemen here and we try to find a way of being in a common system here concerning police, in order to explain to all the immigrants in Calais that it’s impossible to cross the Channel,” the minister said.

“We’d be very happy if it would be possible to have more co-operation concerning this point.

“Britain’s government has pledged £12 million (£15 million euros, $19 million) over three years to help tackle the problem.

Cazeneuve said the two countries had had a “hard negotiation” over the issue and he had held “lots” of meetings with British Home Secretary Theresa May.

Last week, Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart appeared before a British parliamentary committee, saying that the border should be moved on to British territory “because it’s up to you to decide the migrants you want to let in or not”.

Calais has been home to groups of illegal migrants since authorities closed down the Sangatte immigrant detention centre in 2002.

There has been an even bigger influx in recent months as people arrive from restive countries including Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.