Calais border guards accused of disabling migrant monitors
Very sensitive equipment that can detect migrants hiding in UK-bound trucks has been deliberately turned off by French border guards, British security sources claim.
Published: January 24, 2018, 7:18 am
The heartbeat monitors, which can identify stowaways in seconds, had not been used by French border guards at the port for at least the last six months, they say. The monitors have been in use at the ferry port in Calais for more than a decade now.
The system detects stowaways using sensors that are triggered by heartbeats and is effective in most conditions. Searches can be conducted in as little as 14 seconds after notification.
French officials have been accused of deliberately disabling the equipment because they have no intention of stopping immigrants heading for the UK.
An immediate investigation into border security at Calais has meanwhile been ordered, the Express, a British daily reported.
Richard Burnett of the Road Haulage Association said: “The French don’t want migrants to stay in France. They don’t want to provide asylum – in fact, they don’t want to deal with the issue at all.”
It was revealed only days after British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged funding to French president Emmanuel Macron to stop the flood of migrants coming into the country.
He said they had it on good authority that the heartbeat monitors already in place “are not even switched on”.
Despite Britain spending more than 970 000 euro a day since 2010 defending the border, the French continue to claim that the UK should do more to tackle illegal migration.
French border police denied the charges. A source at the French interior ministry said it was “entirely at the discretion of officials” adding that not everybody can be checked, because “that would be an impossibility”.
But Burnett said even the migrants know the monitors are not working. “The migrants know the state of play. The monitors, because they are not working, instead of acting as a deterrent have the complete opposite effect.
“Switching them off encourages migrants to get through and helps them achieve their goal of reaching the UK on the back of a truck.”
Tony Smith, former head of UK Border Force, said detection techniques not only include heartbeat monitors, but “involves a range of equipment including scanners, carbon dioxide detectors and sniffer dogs”.
But he added: “In my experience the heartbeat detectors are extremely sensitive and can be set off by traffic vibration or even seagulls landing on vehicles”.
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