French authorities have been mounting fewer patrols to tackle Channel migrants because gendarmes are on holiday, it emerged yesterday.
Just days after a record 1,295 migrants reached Britain across the Channel in a 24-hour period, a source at France’s PAF frontier police said beach patrols had been scaled back due to annual leave.
‘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.’
Pictured: Migrants in Dover ona Border Force vessel yesterday as it emerged French authorities have been mounting fewer patrols to tackle Channel migrants because gendarmes are on holiday
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.
‘It is thus several million Euros that are due to France by Great Britain to date (including nearly 10 million euros to pay the reservists and finance the use of air resources).
Just days after a record 1,295 migrants reached Britain across the Channel in a 24-hour period, a source at France’s PAF frontier police said beach patrols had been scaled back due to annual leave
‘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. But some Tory MPs urged Miss Patel not to agree another package.
‘It is clearly a complete waste of money paying yet more taxpayers’ cash to the French authorities when they are presiding over record numbers of people paying people-traffickers to come across the most dangerous shipping route in the world,’ senior Tory backbencher Tim Loughton told the Times.
‘We need to stop that money and have serious discussions with the French authorities about practical measures to stop this and we need to get the Rwanda programme back on track as soon as possible as a deterrent as well.’
A Whitehall source said: ‘Anyone criticising the UK’s investment in the French patrols clearly has no experience of diplomacy or being in government.
‘While the Rwanda scheme is unable to proceed due to legal challenges, there is no alternative to funding these patrols as part of our long-standing co-operation with France.’
Separately, the Home Office announced new measures yesterday to speed up how local authorities around the country take responsibility for child asylum seekers who arrive in Britain without a parent or guardian.
The source said: ‘We can concentrate on one group of migrants, and then another appears nearby’, adding that they can’t be everywhere at the same time
The amount of time councils can take to process lone children, and re-home them, will be halved to five days.
The measures are mainly designed to take pressure off Kent county council which has repeatedly complained it is overloaded with child asylum seekers.
Immigration minister Kevin Foster said: ‘The Government cannot deal with the impact of the rise in dangerous and illegal small boat crossings alone, which is why I welcome the support from councils to help us reduce the cost of hotels and quickly move unaccompanied asylum-seeking children so they receive the care they need.
‘Any council which moves a child from a hotel to their care under the new scheme will receive support funding of £6,000 per child for the first three months to give them the best possible start.’