More fencing, sniffer dogs to thwart illegals

LONDON • British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to provide more security fencing and sniffer dogs to aid French police in repelling attempts by illegal migrants to board Channel Tunnel trains to Britain.

Speaking after a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee yesterday, the Prime Minister also said that Defence Ministry land would be used to park trucks waiting to cross to the French port of Calais.

"The situation is not acceptable... We are going to put in more fencing, more resources, more sniffer dog teams," Mr Cameron said, warning that the cross-Channel migrant issue would last through the next few months.

"I will be speaking to President (Francois) Hollande later today. I want to thank him for the extra police resources that have been put in, which have had some effect.

"We are keen to offer more and work hand in glove with them (France) to reduce pressure on that side of the border," he added.

Britain has pledged £22 million (S$47 million) so far towards improving security at the French end of the Channel Tunnel.

The steps came as the French authorities faced more than 1,000 attempts by migrants camped out in the port of Calais to reach the Channel Tunnel on Thursday night, police sources told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

"More than 1,000 attempts were thwarted last night, with around 30 arrests," the source said, adding there were no reports of migrants injured in their bid to enter the tunnel linking France and Britain.

Another police source spoke of "1,400 incursions".

Mr Cameron is under growing pressure to deter the migrants, many of whom have travelled from Africa and the Middle East, after repeated disruption to cross-Channel passenger and freight traffic.

Some British politicians have called for the British army to reinforce border controls.

Re-elected in May, Mr Cameron has promised to cut net annual migration to Britain to the tens of thousands, a pledge he failed to keep during his first 2010-15 term in office when it hit a near record high of over 300,000 people per year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'More fencing, sniffer dogs to thwart illegals'. Print Edition | Subscribe