Police numbers at French airports to be increased by up to 40%

The police presence at French airports is to be increased by up to 40% after the many bomb alerts and evacuations of the past week.

More than 70 bomb threats have been made against French airports since October 18, with Transport Minister Clément Beaune saying that the threats “almost always” come from the same email address.

While these threats have so far all proved to be hoaxes, they have nonetheless resulted in a great deal of disruption, evacuations, hundreds of cancelled flights and thousands of delayed passengers.

Read more: Can delayed travellers receive compensation 

The bomb threats come at a time when France is already at its highest level of alert following the stabbings in Arras on October 13. 

In accordance with the Vigipirate security alert system more police are to be deployed to areas with increased risk, which now includes airports.

‘More police patrols’

Speaking on France Inter, Transport Minister Clément Beaune announced the state of heightened vigilance at French airports, particularly those in Paris.

“From this week,” he said, “there will be 40% more patrols.”

“These hoaxes are serious crimes. We cannot tolerate that someone or some people play with our fears.”

He said that airports will press charges individually for each threat received and will continue to take the matter seriously.

“We will continue to take security measures on a case by case basis, and each threat we receive is systematically evaluated and checked before the airport is declared safe.” 

He added that 550 more police would also be sent to train stations.

‘Swiss email’

The minister also told a press conference that most of the 70 bomb threats came from a single Swiss email address, “written in the same way from one day to the next”. 

The email address does not necessarily mean that the culprit is outside of France, however it could create an administrative hurdle for the investigation, due to the email server being outside the EU.

Mr Beaune invited the Swiss email provider to cooperate with the French authorities.

“Everyone has a share of the responsibility, including websites and social media, to not support this sort of attack and to cooperate as fast as possible with French civil aviation authorities and with the justice system,” he said

Versailles chateau evacuated again

While no bomb threats have targeted airports since October 21, another was sent to the château de Versailles on October 22. 

The threat on Sunday was the seventh bomb threat against the palace in eight days since October 14.

After closing for two hours, the palace reopened at 14:00.

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