The Swedish authorities have been forced to place heat-detecting cameras along the length of the ten-mile-long bridge connecting the country to Denmark as migrants have been walking across the road-and-rail crossing. The sensors are designed to catch migrants in the act, so that they can be escorted off the bridge safely.
Sweden has been inundated with migrants in the last year, with as many as 10,000 per week crossing into the country, mostly via the Øresund Bridge connecting Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city.
But in January, the Swedish government introduced compulsory checks for all vehicles using the bridge, preventing anyone without papers from using the crossing.
The measure resulted in an 80 percent drop in the number of migrants entering the country, but not all migrants have been so easily deterred. Local authorities have said that, on average, they have seen one or two attempted crossings each week since the ID checks were brought in.
A border force spokesman told the Express: “When the Swedish government decided to check all travellers entering Sweden, we began seeing people walking along the road and railway tracks towards Sweden.
“As The Øresund Bridge is designed only for vehicles and trains, pedestrians obviously pose a substantial risk both to themselves and others.”
While much of the ten mile stretch is open air, some of the route passes through a tunnel, potentially bringing pedestrians into very close contact with passing trains.
“There is no pavement or other form walkway,” the spokesman said. “That’s why we decided to install new sensors, so we would be better able to see any such presence before they reach the tunnel.”
Michael Mattsson, the head of the Border Police in the Southern Region has confirmed that sensors have been installed for migrant safety, telling Sweden’s Aftonbladet: “It is very dangerous to be in the train tunnel. There is a high risk of migrants losing their lives.”
According to Mattsson some of the migrants are trying to hitch a ride on passing trains, adding to the danger.
“There is a stretch where the train slows down,” he said. “There we have had incidents with people who have tried to jump on.
“It’s incredibly dangerous to go in the tunnel, and therefore we take it very seriously. What we can do is to put sensors up and continue to alert the Danish police when we become aware that there are people in the tunnel.”
According to the Øresund Bridge Consortium, three sensors in total have been set up so far; one at the entrance to tunnels at either end of the bridge, and a third on the sound about midway along the stretch.
No official statistics are held for how many people have tried to make the crossing so far, but it is thought to number at least 25. Of those, 20 are known to have registered for asylum in Denmark, and another to have already registered for asylum in Sweden. Arrests for trespassing have been made by the Danish police.
Sanna Holmqvist, Head of the Øresund Bridge Consortium said they had “definitely seen a clear increase” in the number of people making the crossing, adding “It was in no way necessary, before border controls were introduced.”