U.K. police 'should be sent to Calais'

Nov 05, 2014, 1:45 AM EST
Migrants eat hot meals served by humanitarian organizations in the northeastern French port of Calais on October 29, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

British police should be sent to Calais to help solve the port's "tremendous problem" with illegal immigration, the French interior minister has said. The BBC reports:

Bernard Cazeneuve told the BBC officers might help persuade immigrants it was "impossible to cross the Channel". Increasing numbers of migrants have been trying to enter the UK through the major ferry port in recent months.

The Home Office has not yet commented but the UK has previously pledged £12m to help bolster security there. That pledge was part of a plan, announced in September by Home Secretary Theresa May, for the two countries to work more closely to tackle the problem.

Local officials say there are now 2,500 illegal immigrants in Calais, with the majority from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Syria. Numbers have increased by 50% in the past year as people flee from humanitarian crises in northern and eastern Africa and the Middle East.

Many are camping or living in squats around the port and there have been clashes on the streets of the town.

British taxpayers will be contributing to a new £2.35 million a year welcome centre for UK-bound illegal migrants in Calais, it emerged today. The Daily Mail reports:

The bill will be added to the £12million the British government has already pledged to the French to improve security in the port town this year. During a visit to Calais on Monday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve signed an agreement to ensure the new facility will be open by January.

But aid groups warned the centre could turn into an expensive 'ghetto' that will become a magnet for thousands more asylum seekers who want to make the journey across the English Channel.

Mr Cazeneuve said the centre will have 'a budget of more than three million euros a year, which the state will be asking the European Union for.'