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French cut migrant beach patrols


French authorities have been mounting fewer patrols to tackle Channel migrants because gendarmes - paramilitary police officers - are on holiday.

‘August always means fewer numbers, because staff are on holiday,’ the source said. 

‘But beyond that our work is getting harder all the time.

‘We can concentrate on one group of migrants, and then another appears nearby. We can’t be everywhere at the same time.’ 

Beach patrols can involve just six officers, and they frequently have to split up to deal with different incidents, the source said.

Only one vehicle is available to most of these patrols, meaning most of the officers do their work on foot, making emergency response times extremely slow, the insider insisted.

French claims that they are owed millions of pounds pledged by the Home Office to combat the Channel crisis were dimissed by UK sources last night.

The French accused Britain of failing to pay £8million towards Channel patrols under a £53million deal agreed last summer.

A spokesman for the Hauts de France prefecture said it was impossible to cover the 100 miles of coastline which offer embarkation points for the UK.

‘Added to this is the difficulty created by the fact that the British do not reimburse the expenses incurred to contribute to the protection of their border as well as the safety of migrants,’ the spokesman said.

‘Despite this, since the beginning of 2022, around 60 per cent of attempted crossings have been prevented.’

A UK government source said: ‘We do not understand the French claims about money not being received.

‘It may be a case of some money not hitting the right account at exactly the right time, but we have paid France every penny we agreed to pay.’

A new financial deal is due to be announced within weeks to pay for ongoing French patrols.