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French police officer ‘kidnapped and beaten on beach by migrants’

Local reports say the officer was seized by migrants
Local reports say the officer was seized by migrants

A French police officer tasked with cracking down on channel migrants said he was kidnapped and beaten on a northern beach where they make crossing attempts.

The gendarme said he was bundled into a vehicle that “may have been involved” in people trafficking, according to the local prosecutor.

Local reports say that he was seized by migrants. However, a senior police chief told The Telegraph it remained “unclear” whether any were involved.

Detectives in France have launched an investigation into the incident which took place at 8pm on Saturday at the Plage des pauvres, just north of Le Touquet.

The lone 26-year-old gendarme – a reservist officer tasked with stopping Channel crossings – was reportedly taking a break from patrolling the beach when the alleged attack happened.

The officer, who was “in a state of shock”, was taken to a hospital in nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer for treatment, according to the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor’s office.

“He said he had been kidnapped in a vehicle that could have been involved in proceedings to facilitate the illegal entry and stay of migrants,” it added. No arrests have been made.

‘Atypical’ incident

The reservist was prescribed 10 days of total incapacity to work, mainly for “post-traumatic” shock, it added.

An investigation into this “atypical” incident has been handed to the investigative brigade of the Écuires gendarmerie.

Nord Littoral, a local newspaper, reported that “the man is believed to have been attacked and kidnapped by a group of migrants on Plage des pauvres – on the edge of Saint-Gabriel – while he was on a rest period”.

It said he had sustained a “knee injury”.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Gen Frantz Tavart, who is in charge of 130 gendarmes – including 90 reservists paid for by the UK – patrolling the Calais coast, warned against pre-empting the investigation.

“Something happened but the precise circumstances need to be clarified. What would be the motive for migrants to do such a thing?” he asked.

The unnamed gendarme had been drafted in from another region.

The Opal Coast, a stretch encompassing Dunkirk, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais, has seen an upswing in attempted crossings recently.

Last week, a man and a woman drowned after a small boat carrying around 60 migrants seeking to reach Britain sank just after leaving the French coast. They left from a beach just 12km from where the gendarme was allegedly seized.

The latest deaths came almost two years to the day after 27 people died in one of the worst Channel migrant disasters.

Olivier Ternisien, head of the Osmose 62 group that helps would-be migrants in the Boulogne region, said the increased presence of security forces encouraged the migrants to take on ever more dangerous hazards.

Gen Tavart told The Telegraph that 30 per cent fewer migrants had made it to the UK so far this year compared to 2022.

French authorities say that boats are increasingly overloaded, with the average number of about 53 nearly double the average of two years ago.

According to British authorities, more than 27,200 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year, against a record 45,000 in 2022.