British police and security services to help protect Paris Olympics | Paris Olympic Games 2024

UK security experts will help France to protect the Paris Olympics in a sign of closer cooperation, the Home Office has said.

Both governments also plan to deploy more drones and sea barriers to prevent small boats carrying asylum seekers from crossing the Channel.

The plans follow talks in Paris on Tuesday between the home secretary, James Cleverly, and the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin.

Police officers and members of the security services are expected to work alongside French officials at the Olympics, which will begin in July, informed sources said.

They will share their experiences from London 2012 and other major events including Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and King Charles’s coronation.

Darmanin said France and the UK would deepen their cooperation over migration. “Their joint action will also cover the security of major upcoming events this year, with a particular focus on the summer Olympics,” he said as part of a joint statement.

Cleverly promised “to see our countries continue to work closely together, not least as France takes on the challenge of hosting the Olympics this summer”.

The security challenge in the buildup to the Olympics was highlighted when a tourist was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower in December.

Paris has been the scene of large-scale attacks, such as at the Bataclan in 2015 when Islamist extremists invaded the music hall and shot at cafe terraces, killing 130 people.

The UK government will also send more drones and water barriers to help stop “taxi-boat launches” – when smugglers’ boats wait 10 metres off the beach for asylum seekers, making it harder for the police to catch them.

The British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, held the first post-Brexit bilateral meeting between the two countries last March. It was agreed that the UK would pay France £500m to help tackle the small boats crisis.

It is understood that the plans announced on Tuesday will not result in more UK cash.

The government has refused to bow to demands from refugee charities to set up new safe and legal routes for people seeking asylum in the UK if they wish to stop deaths in the Channel.

The majority of those people travelling across the Channel in small boats are refugees, the government’s own figures show.

The joint statement was released as the Office for National Statistics estimated that net migration would increase the UK’s population by nearly 10%, or 6.1 million people, by mid-2036.

Cleverly has already announced a package of measures designed to reduce net migration by 300,000 from its record high of 745,000 in 2022.


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