Police help a migrant pregnant woman rescued in the English Channel as she arrives on a beach in Dungeness, Britain, on Sept. 22. According to the British Ministry of Defense, more than 30,000 people crossed the English Channel on small boats since the beginning of the year. File Photo by Stuart Brock/EPA-EFE
Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Britain and France have reached a deal to increase the number of officers patrolling beaches in northern France to stem the illegal crossing of the English Channel by migrants using small boats.
British officials said in a statement the number of officers in northern France will increase by 40% in coming months and that France agreed to having British officers embedded as observers to the border control efforts. The BBC reported the number of officers would rise from 200 to 300 in five months.
Britain will pay France up to $74.5 million through 2023 to support the border efforts, including investments in surveillance technology, drones and helicopters and detection dog teams.
"We must do everything we can to stop people making these dangerous journeys and crack down on the criminal gangs. This is a global challenge requiring global solutions, and it is in the interests of both the U.K. and French governments to work together to solve this complex problem," Home Secretary Suella Braverman said.
"There are no quick fixes, but this new arrangement will mean we can significantly increase the number of French gendarmes patrolling the beaches in northern France and ensure U.K. and French officers are working hand in hand to stop the people smugglers."
Official figures reported by the BBC show that over 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats this year, including 1,800 over the weekend.
British officials said in the statement announcing the deal that Britain and France have prevented more than 30,000 more small boat crossings this year and 23,000 in 2021.
"Alongside this, we have dismantled 55 organized crime groups and made over 500 arrests supported by the work of the U.K.-France Joint Intelligence Cell," British officials said in the agreement document.
The agreement was signed by Braverman and Gérald Darmanin, France's minister of interior and overseas territories.