Despite huge publicity, constant PR gaffes and public pressure, as well as investment in the security fencing, migrants are still dodging security at a Calais refugee camp by jumping over an unmanned seven-foot security fence at the back entrance.
The camp at Calais has been turned into a relative fortress, publicly at least, with CCTV, turnstiles and even biometric hand scanners. The French authorities said this would help ensure the safety of the people living in the 125 heated units next to the unofficial area that has become known as the Jungle.
There is just one problem. The Jungle residents can hop over a fence at the rear and join their friends or family, and people are leaving the relatively comfortable confines of the official camp to join the others.
The migrants are helping each other and allowing the people living in tough conditions in tents outside to shower and even sleep in a real bed for a while. So there’s almost certainly no malicious reason for doing so.
However, they can scale a simple security fence unchallenged when there are millions of euros of equipment, fencing and security at the front makes a mockery of the whole system.
Also there’s a valuable lesson here for the rest of us. A security or perimeter fence is only as strong as its weakest link. Intruders are well-practised at finding a soft point in any security system, so make sure yours is properly balanced and covers all the bases. Even if your fencing looks like a fortress at one point, that does not mean there isn’t a place where a skilled invader can slip through unnoticed.
If the French police and immigration cannot contain the immigrant populace of Calais, despite it turning into an international incident, then companies with one security guard and a limited budget can obviously struggle. That’s why before you get into advanced turnstiles and other complications, you should focus on a solid perimeter fencing system. A physical barrier that works is one of the simplest and most effective deterrents for intruders, so make sure yours is up to speed before you start adding layers of complication.