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Britain and France sign fresh deal to reduce migrant crossings

29 November 2020, MVT 15:04
-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2020 -- Migrants sit onboard a boat navigating in agitated waters between Sangatte and Cap Blanc-Nez (Cape White Nose), in the English Channel off the coast of northern France, as they attempt to cross the maritime borders between France and the United Kingdom on August 27, 2020. - The number of migrants crossing the English Channel -- which is 33,8 km (21 miles) at the closest point in the Straits of Dover -- in small inflatable boats has spiralled over the summer of the 2020. According to authorities in northern France some 6,200 migrants have attempted the crossing between January 1 and August 31, 2020, compared with 2,294 migrants for the whole of 2019. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)
29 November 2020, MVT 15:04

Increased patrols and technology will be deployed along France's beaches under a new agreement between Paris and London aimed at stopping illegal migration across the Channel.

A growing number of migrants have tried to reach Britain across the perilous and busy shipping lane in recent months, with four deaths recorded in 2019 and seven so far this year.

The deal will see French patrols doubled from December 1, with drones and radar used to detect those attempting to cross, Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel said Saturday.

Welcoming the deal, Patel said it would help the two countries with their "shared mission to make channel crossings completely unviable".

The issue has been a source of tension, with Britain accusing France of not doing enough to stop the crossings.

In September, French authorities said they had intercepted more than 1,300 people trying to reach Britain, including a handful who had attempted to swim the 30-odd kilometres (18 miles) across the Channel.

Around 6,200 attempted the crossing between January 1 and the end of August, with inflatable boats, paddleboards, kayaks or even lifejackets to keep them afloat.

Northern France has long been a magnet for people seeking to smuggle themselves to Britain in small boats or in one of the thousands of trucks and cars that cross over daily on ferries and trains.

London, United Kingdom | AFP

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