Channel crossings: Group rescued near Kent coast
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Authorities on the continent have outlined how they intend to spend the money first promised by Home Secretary Priti Patel last year. Known as project “Termius”, France is planning to create a network of nearly 40 high-tech CCTV cameras.
It is hoped the video will help to catch people smugglers via number plate recogition and quickly alert authorities to attempts to cross the Channel.
The cameras will cover more than 10 miles of coastline often used by migrants as the starting point to their journey.
The plans have been unveiled after January saw six times as many crossings compared to the same month in 2021.
Home Office statistics indicated 1,341 people crossed the Dover Strait in 46 boats.
The amount compares to 223 people making the treacherous journey in 15 boats in January last year.
France currently only managed to block about 40 percent of all migrant attempts to cross the Channel – a figure that frustrated the Home Secretary and backbencher Conservative MPs a like.
In November, Ms Patel said France must “go further and faster” to stop the number of illegal crossings.
Beaches at Sangatte, Wissant, Ambleteuse and Audresselles will all be covered by the CCTV cameras.
Images will be viewed by police at a centralised location 70 miles away, with local security alerted to any suspicious activity.
Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke has warned the new system will only work if French police act on what they see on the CCTV cameras.
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She said: “These CCTV cameras will only make a difference if the French authorities take action on what they see, get down on to the beaches and stop the boats entering the water.”
There was outrage last year when pictures emerged of French police watching migrants climb into boats on beaches.
Images showed officers standing by and not interfering.
Migrants often cross from France in flimsy vessels to fit for the journey.
Last November, 27 are believed to have died after their boat capsized in the water.
It was the biggest loss of life in a single incident in the Channel.
London and Paris vowed to work more closely together after the tragedy to prevent more loss of life.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by what happened and pledged to leave “no stone unturned” to prevent further such drownings.
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