UK and France announce joint police command to tackle people-smugglers

The UK and France have announced new measures to prevent "undocumented migrants" entering the Channel Tunnel by tackling the criminals who smuggle them to Calais and across the Channel.

The plans include the creation of a joint police operation aimed at tackling the people-smugglers who profit from the desperation of those trying to reach British shores.

Both countries have created a new Command and Control Centre in Calais, the Home Office has said in a statement.

Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve inside the command and control centre. Credit: Reuters

The Anglo-French headquarters will "find and disrupt organised criminals who attempt to smuggle migrants into northern France and across the Channel", it said.

New security measures include increased French police numbers and British-funded fencing, CCTV and other security equipment to protect the tunnel entrance in Calais, the Home Office also said.

New British funded fencing at Calais. Credit: ITV News

Unspecified support to the tunnel operator, Eurotunnel, will also be provided the statement said.

The new deal will focus on strengthening security at the port where thousands of migrants are trying to get to Britain via boats and the Eurotunnel.

Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve meet security staff at Calais. Credit: Reuters

Speaking during a visit to the Euroterminal at Coquelles today, Home Secretary Theresa May said: "We are also looking at the security of other ports. We are very well aware of the possibility of displacement.

"The Immigration Minister has already had discussions with the Dutch and Belgian authorities to look at ports there and whether work might need to be done there. Of course we are looking at other ports like Dunkirk."

Only a fraction of migrants to the EU ultimately end up trying to get into Britain. Tens of thousands of people arrive in Italy and Greece each week after fleeing conflict and persecution in out of countries like Syria, Libya, Iraq and several other Middle Eastern and African states. The German government expects the number of asylum applications to quadruple to 800,000 this year.