Sussex Police to re-awaken 'Project Kraken' following concerns about migrants
Police in Sussex are to refresh an initiative called 'Project Kraken' in light of concerns about migrants crossing the Channel.
There have been no reports in the last 12 months of migrants landing on Sussex beaches, it has been confirmed.
However Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said he wants the public to be aware of Project Kraken and to help keep the county's ports and beaches safe.
Project Kraken is an existing initiative designed to strengthen the responses to potential threats along the UK coastline.
This comes after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared migrants crossing the English Channel over Christmas a 'major incident'.
'Absolutely able to respond' to any migrant concerns
CC York said: "Issues such as this along our coastline can cause us challenges, because not only is it criminality but you've also got some very vulnerable people coming across so it does also hit upon modern slavery and immigration crime as well.
"Border Force have a geographic footprint in Sussex both at the airport and at Newhaven Port, as well with an ability to spread along the coast and we have really close intelligence engagement with them.
"I can assure you that we do have plans in place - working with Border Force - understanding the challenge of dealing with criminality and dealing with vulnerable people at the same time.
"I am absolutely certain that we have the plans in place in order to be able to respond to it."
'No reports' in last 12 months
However despite concerns elsewhere in the country - particularly in neighbouring Kent - there have been no reports of migrants landing on Sussex beaches in the last 12 months.
The Chief Constable said: "Sussex is next to Kent, however the way they are choosing to move at the moment does make landing on Sussex beaches much less likely.
"It is possibly twice the distance in order to get to a Sussex beach and I am told that the currents will generally take people in the other direction as well.
"So it is significant and we are alive to it but the likelihood of it is much less in Sussex.
"In the last year neither Sussex Police nor the border force have received any reports of these types of landings on our beaches."
Project Kraken to be awoken
Asked about how police are responding to Brexit and migrant concerns, CC York said that an initiative called 'Project Kraken' will get a refresh.
Project Kraken is a joint initiative from National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and police and aims to increase public reporting and strengthen the general maritime industry's response to the threats.
CC York said: "We would like to think there is an awareness of Kraken amongst the community along the coastline, however I recognise that Kraken has been around for a long time and sometimes in slightly different guises."
The Chief Constable said that 'significant information' has been coming through the scheme but encouraged members of the public to always get in touch if they have concerns.
Information can be reported anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers.
Sussex Police will be issuing new guidance and information about Project Kraken in the coming months.