Britain to deploy armed police to French-UK ferries
The UK government has announced that 40 firearms police from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) will be placed on ferries moving from Dover across the Channel and between Newcastle and the Netherlands.
The move is designed to address concerns from the UK government that the ferry routes have been unguarded and potentially vulnerable, as passengers are not subjected to searches or body scans before boarding.
“The government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security, and our priority remains maintaining the safety and security of our citizens,” a UK government spokesperson said.
The representative added that the move was taken as part of efforts to strengthen “security by fully equipping law enforcement and emergency responders to respond to terrorist incidents, no matter where they occur.”
The 40 CNC officers are set to be deployed from July, having been made available after nuclear power stations were decommissioned.
The Times newspaper quoted a senior counter-terrorism source as saying that “ferries are the weak link when it comes to policing transport against terror threats,” claiming the deployment will act as a “visible deterrent.”
The move comes months after the UK and France signed the maritime security treaty to improve cooperation between the nations. The July 2021 agreement will come into force when both sides have ratified it in a bid to prevent a high-security incident from affecting the route.
The joint agreement sees the UK and France share security information on potential threats, allowing them to respond swifter and stronger to potential incidents, as well as coordinate joint responses.