Kent police station to stay on French soil after Brexit

The one piece of France that will remain forever England even after Brexit: Kent police station to stay on French soil after January 1 (and clocks will still be set to British time)

  • Kent Police will retain its station at Coquelles, near Calais, after Brexit
  • Arrangement agreed by Margaret Thatcher and Francoise Mitterand in 1980s
  • Kent Police is the only constabulary to have a station on foreign soil 

A part of France is set to remain forever English and even have the clocks set to British time despite Brexit.

Kent Police is to retain its station operating on foreign soil at Coquelles, near Calais, where the Channel Tunnel surfaces in France after Britain officially leaves the EU.

The site is shared with Border Force and Customs and Excise officers, and is treated as English soil.

The site in Coquelles, France, has been in British hands since an agreement in the 1980s between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francoise Mitterand under the 1986 Treaty of Canterbury

Crimes committed there are judged by British law in English courts and even the clocks run to English time.

But the special arrangement is not connected to Britain’s membership of the EU.

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix confirmed the site will remain in the hands of Kent Police

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: ‘Kent Police has built a strong and long-lasting relationship with French authorities which, under the terms of a bi-lateral agreement, allows Kent officers to be stationed in Coquelles and French officers to be based in Kent to help conduct border policing.

‘This bi-lateral agreement is between Kent Police and its French partner agencies, which is not affected by the circumstances of any deal between the UK Government and the European Union.’

It was agreed between then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francoise Mitterand under the 1986 Treaty of Canterbury.

The situation is not without historic precedent. Edward III captured Calais in 1347, and the French officially ceded sovereignty to the English 13 years later. It remained English soil until 1557, when the French regained it.

Digging up facts on the Channel Tunnel 

The first design for a cross-Channel Tunnel – to be lit by oil lamps for horse drawn carts – was created in 1802.

In 1834 came the first rail tunnel proposal for steam trains.

In 1880 there was an attempt of tunnel excavation – some of this tunnel still exists today.

The boring of the service tunnel started in the UK in 1987.

On May 6, 1994, the Channel Tunnel was official opened by Queen Elizabeth II and French president Francois Mitterand.

Since completion in 1994, the equivalent of six times the population of the UK has crossed through the tunnel.

4G mobile services are available in the tunnel.

Each shuttle is almost 800 metres (2,624ft) long, that’s the length of seven football pitches.

In 2007, the Tour de France teams travelled through the Tunnel.

By 2009, 50million vehicles had crossed the Channel on Eurotunnel Shuttles since 1994.

The concrete rings that line the tunnels are made of some of the strongest concrete in the world.

One million e-commerce express delivery parcels travel through the Tunnel each day.


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