Night vision: France to spend €11m on new tech to stop migrant Channel crossings

Night vision: France to spend €11m on new tech to stop migrant Channel crossings
Officers patrol a beach in northern France. Photo: Marce Sanye/AFP
The French government has announced an €11 million package of new equipment - including night-vision equipment and thermal cameras - as it steps up operations against people smugglers who facilitate illegal crossings to the UK.

After a meeting between French interior minister Gérald Darmanin and  his British counterpart Priti Patel, France has announced the deployment of extra measures along its northern coast, where small boats set off to make the perilous crossing to the UK.

The British government promised France an extra €62 million to fund the ongoing security operations, although the two governments appear to be at odds over how much of the money has actually been paid.

But the Interior Ministry has now announced that equipment and vehicles worth €11m have been acquired within this agreement, and will lead to extra patrols along the 130km stretch of coastline.

The ministry announced: “More than 100 mobile vehicles are being delivered to the field for patrols, with equipment adapted to the specific nature of the terrain, such as quad bikes, 4×4s, Zodiac-type boats and vehicles equipped with sophisticated surveillance and detection equipment.

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“Twenty vehicles have already been delivered and are used by the forces on a daily basis, the others will arrive progressively in December and during 2022.

“In addition, there will be modern, high-performance night vision equipment, thermal cameras, 300 lamps, 160 tactical lighting projectors, interception and communication means, as well as clothing effects. This equipment will also be delivered during 2022 and will be made available to the forces gradually, as soon as it is received.”

Overall, France intercepts between 50 and 60 percent of small boats that attempt the clandestine crossing, with figures from August 2021 showing that 10,522 people were detained in France, while another 12,256 made it to the UK and were detained there.

The crossing is highly dangerous and every year people die while making the attempt.

READ ALSO What is France doing to stop migrants crossing the Channel

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  1. Surely if the purchase of rubber dinghies and outboard motors was controlled, that would deny the smugglers the means of transport. Licences, Identity checks and so on would control who purchases these (repeatedly…), and record where they are to be kept (used…). And then if they are no longer at that that location – questions… Simples. And a lot cheaper than 11 million Euros!!!
    Selling the dinghies, life-jackets and motors that pile up in England would help with the costs of the attempts (ineffective?) at controlling the flow (flood?).

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