Revealed: Macron’s France has banned use of drones to catch illegals on beaches
UK taxpayers’ millions given to the French by Priti Patel can’t be used for most effective tool
Montage © Facts4EU.Org
Gendarmerie has been stopped from using essential tech to detect illegal channel crossings
For the last two years the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel has been throwing UK taxpayer money at the French, for them to improve their efforts to catch people smugglers and stop illegal migrants from crossing the English Channel in ever-increasing numbers.
Today, Facts4EU.Org reveals how an official French state agency has stopped the use of one of the most effective technologies available to patrol miles of French beaches – drones.
What Priti Patel promised last month.....
On 20 July 2021 the British and French governments published a joint statement from Priti Patel, UK Home Secretary, and Gérald Darmanin, French Ministre de l’Intérieur. In their signed statement they promised to:-
“deploy more wide-area surveillance technology and vehicles to further improve coverage of the coast of France and thus prevent crossing attempts, including via effective deployment of aerial surveillance”
UK-France joint statement: next phase of collaboration on tackling illegal migration, 20 Jul 2021
There’s just one problem, Home Secretary
– since January a French law has prohibited the use of aerial drones
While the UK is using the latest technology available, and offering it to France, everything is grounded across the English Channel. With hundreds of miles of coastline to patrol, the French have long complained that theirs is an impossible task. They simply did not have the numbers of officers, they said.
In response, Priti Patel threw a further €62.7m (£54m GBP) at France last month, to double police numbers along the French coast and for the “effective deployment of aerial surveillance”.
We can only be charitable to the Home Secretary and assume that her French counterpart did not tell her that an official French agency has banned the use of drones by law enforcement services in France. This edict has been in place since May last year and was renewed in stronger terms on 12 January 2021.
The Frenchman who sat across the table from Priti Patel knew this only too well
It was the department of Priti Patel’s counterpart that was officially sanctioned and ordered to stop all drone flights. This official sanction applies to the agencies of Monsieur Darmanin’s own Interior Ministry – including the police and Gendarmerie who patrol the coast.
In France there is a privacy agency with state powers, called the “Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL). This agency operates under statutory powers granted by French law in 1978.
© Conseil d'État (click to enlarge)
In May last year, court cases started over the use of drones by French police in monitoring people for violating Coronavirus laws banning the free movement of people within France. The CNIL acted then to order drone use be stopped by law enforcement. Further actions followed, when it became clear that French police were using drones to log people taking part in anti-lockdown demonstrations.
On 12 January this year (2021) CNIL officially ‘sanctioned’ Monsieur Darmanin’s Interior Ministry
“for having unlawfully used drones equipped with cameras, in particular to monitor compliance with containment measures. It instructs the ministry to cease all drone flights until a regulatory framework authorizes it.”
- Drones: the CNIL sanctions the Ministry of the Interior, announced 14 Jan 2021, Paris (Translated by Facts4EU.Org)
This all-encompassing edict applies to all drones, including those on the northern French coast
It is essential to note that this edict applied across the board, not only for certain uses of drones such as Coronavirus ‘containment’ measures. This ban affects the police and Gendarmerie forces in the coastal areas of northern France, where drones are an essential tool to maximise the efficiency of law enforcement to catch people smugglers and illegal migrants attempting to cross the English Channel.
“This sanction and the accompanying injunction concern the use of drones by all law enforcement agencies as soon as they act under the authority of the ministry, whether they are police services or the gendarmerie, on the whole of the territory, and whatever the objectives pursued.”
- Délibération de la formation restreinte n°SAN-2021-003 du 12 janvier 2021 concernant le ministère de l'Intérieur (Excerpt translated by Facts4EU.Org)
Is it possible for Macron to make an immediate exemption for drone use on the French coast?
Naturellement, bien sûr.
Facts4EU.Org has read the pronouncements and the official legal measures from France’s data protection and liberties agency, CNIL. They made it clear that all they need is a “regulatory framework” to make it legal. President Macron could declare a corridor, say 25km south and 100km north from the Channel coast, where drones will be permitted for the sole purpose of detecting people smugglers and illegal migrants.
In light of the Gendarmerie’s current protestations about insufficient manpower, this would dramatically improve their ability to prevent the mass of small boat embarcations we are currently seeing on their arrival on the beaches of southern Britain.
It only requires the will to do this and the results would be very rapid. As it is, we doubt the political will is there in France to manage its northern border, for reasons which relate to animosity over Brexit.
Go on, Monsieur le Président, prove us wrong - Act today
President Macron, you could act. With the numbers of illegals departing French shores starting to get close to 1,000 on peak days, this is urgent. Follow it up with legislation in the French parliament too, because currently French law enforcement and security services have no means of tracking terrorists by aerial surveillance.
We completely agree that French law enforcement agencies should not have the right to monitor the French population by use of drones for other reasons, but along the northern French coast you could act now. And we are certain that the French police and intelligence agencies are now desperate to be able to use aerial surveillance of serious terrorist suspects.
Droning on, or 'drones off'?
French people will testify to the fact that President Macron has been known to drone on. In some cases his televised Presidential announcements have lasted almost an hour. In this case we fear that 'drones off' is a more accurate description of current French law. Let's hope he puts this right with some speed.
Facts4EU.Org and you
Most of our readers are well-informed and appreciate our fact-based articles, presented in a way you won't see anywhere else. If you value reports like the one above, please help our work with a donation. We have far more to do in researching, publishing, campaigning and lobbying Parliament than we have in terms of the financial resources to fulfil these tasks. We badly need funding to continue - we rely 100% on public donations from readers like you. We are a 'not for profit' team (we make a loss) and any donation goes towards the actual work, not plush London offices, lunch or taxi expenses, or other luxuries of some organisations. Nor do we ask you for further donations if you donate once - we just hope that you keep supporting us. Your donation stays anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.
If you believe in a fully-free, independent, and sovereign United Kingdom, please make a donation now. It’s quick, secure, and confidential, and you can use one of the links below or you can use our Donations page here. You will receive a personal, friendly ‘thank you’ from a member of our team within 24 hours. Thank you for reading this.
[ Sources: Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) | Conseil d'État | UK Home Office ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 27 Aug 2021
Please scroll down to COMMENT on the above article.
And don't forget to actually post your message after you have previewed it!
Since before the EU Referendum, Brexit Facts4EU.Org
has been the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts in the world.
Supported by MPs, MEPs, & other groups, our work has impact.
We think facts matter. Please donate today, so that we can continue to ensure a clean Brexit is finally delivered.
Paypal Users Only - Choose amount first