London [UK], November 29 (ANI/Sputnik): The United Kingdom and France have signed a new agreement on measures aimed at reinforcing the fight against illegal migration via the English Channel, specifically by increasing the number of French coastline officers and better equipping them, the UK Home Office said in a press release on Saturday.
The agreement was signed by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
"The number of officers patrolling French beaches will double as a result of a new agreement reached by the Home Secretary and her French counterpart today to tackle migrant activity in the Channel. [Patel and Darmanin] reaffirmed their commitment to make this route unviable," the press release read, specifying that the number of French would be increased from December 1.
According to the press release, the agreement builds on a cooperation framework that has already proven effective in increasing the proportion of intercepted and prevented crossing attempts from 41 percent in 2019 to 60 percent in recent weeks. This includes "more police patrols on French beaches and enhanced intelligence sharing between our security and law enforcement agencies."
In addition to increasing the number of French officers, the new agreement will also ensure that they get an "enhanced package of cutting edge surveillance technology," including drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras -- all to make sure they are adequately prepared for "stopping migrants leaving French beaches in the first place."
"On top of these new operational plans, we will introduce a new asylum system that is firm and fair, and I will bring forward new legislation next year to deliver on that commitment," Patel was quoted as saying.
In particular, London and Paris are determined to fix their "broken asylum system," by making sure it welcomes migrants who need asylum via safe and legal routes and turns away those coming from "safe EU countries" to abuse it. (ANI/Sputnik)