France says UK CANNOT return migrant canoes

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France says UK CANNOT return migrant canoes as 2,000 potential refugees gather across the Channel, preparing for the deadly crossing

  • UK officials extremely frustrated with inability to intercept migrants at sea
  • Authorities admit surge in arrivals will continue for the rest of the year
  • UK has been hampered by French court ruling banning the use of drones










Britain has made a dramatic offer to pick up and bring back migrant boats in the Channel that resist French intervention, it emerged last night that around 2,000 migrants had gathered through the Channel.

The UK offer – following growing exasperation over the Channel crisis – was rejected by France.

Amid a record number of crossings, it is understood that UK officials have been extremely frustrated with the inability to intercept migrants at sea and return them.

Privately, UK authorities admit that the increase in arrivals will continue for the rest of the year as they have no “silver bullet” to solve the problem.

The number of migrants in northern France is now believed to have roughly doubled since March, with more than 9,000 already arriving in Britain so far in 2021, The temperature reports. About 8,000 people were prevented from crossing.

Organized gangs are now dependent to some extent on small boats due to reduced ferry crossings amid the Covid pandemic.

The UK began sending high-tech equipment, supposedly to include drones, to France earlier this year in a bid to boost aerial surveillance of its coastline.

France has intercepted 8,000 migrants leaving its coasts and recovered 500 boats this year, as well as returned 2,700 <a class=asylum seekers at sea” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

France has intercepted 8,000 migrants leaving its coasts and recovered 500 boats this year, as well as returned 2,700 asylum seekers at sea

Home Secretary Priti Patel last week agreed to pay France £ 54million for additional policing and the use of drones in a controversial deal. But yesterday it emerged the UK was hampered by a French court ruling that banned the use of drones by its police due to privacy concerns.

This came as 378 other migrants made the 21-mile crossing on Sunday, bringing the total number of arrivals this year to more than 9,000.

Sources said tackling the wave has been complicated as most migrants now try to resist the intervention in French waters, sometimes threatening violence. According to its interpretation of maritime law, France asserts that it can then intervene only if there is an immediate danger to life.

Thus, in cases where migrants threaten violence or resist, French patrols are instead obliged to monitor the boats until British customs officials take over.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, British sources said yesterday that the country’s warships had been offered to intercept these ships before returning them to French waters.

But the measure was ruled out by Paris because of the political difficulty for a “proud sovereign nation” to allow Britain to return migrants to its shores.

This despite reports in June that ships from British border forces were entering French waters to pick up migrants to be brought to Britain.

Despite continued frustrations over cooperation with Paris, senior Home Office officials say it is “ludicrous” to accuse French authorities of escorting boats in British waters.

They pointed out that France has intercepted 8,000 migrants leaving its shores and picked up 500 boats this year, as well as 2,700 asylum seekers sent back to sea.

British sources said yesterday that the country's warships had been offered to intercept these ships before returning them to French waters.

British sources said yesterday that the country’s warships had been offered to intercept these ships before returning them to French waters.

Sources said tackling the wave has been complicated as most migrants now try to resist the intervention in French waters

Sources said tackling the wave has been complicated as most migrants now try to resist the intervention in French waters

But, while accepting that the French police have improved considerably, British officials say their intelligence gathering to detect smugglers is still ineffective.

The UK began sending high-tech equipment, believed to be drones, to France earlier this year in a bid to boost aerial surveillance of its coastline.

The £ 54million funding deal Priti Patel struck last week also included the supply of more aerial surveillance technology to France.

But with the Home Secretary under pressure to reduce level crossings, the deployment was hampered by a decision by France’s privacy watchdog, CNIL, earlier this year that use drones by the police is illegal.

French authorities are now trying to introduce laws that will allow the forces to use drones, but it will not be in time to prevent the increase in Channel crossings during the summer months.

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