Police launch new operation to tackle maritime crime

Criminals who use the coast-line and waterways are being targeted by a new police crackdown.

Police are asking the maritime community be their eyes and ears in helping to report suspicious behaviour.

Boat owners at Rye Harbour have been targeted by thieves in the past while a major ring using the Harbour to land drugs was smashed.

There have also been incidents of people smuggling at Rye’s Strand Quay.

Project Kraken, a joint initiative now being delivered by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and police forces, aims to increase public reporting and strengthen the general maritime industry’s response to the threats.

Maritime communities are being targeted as part of the new-look campaign as they have the expertise and local knowledge to spot anything out of the ordinary.

Presentations are being given by police locally and posters and leaflets are being distributed.

By contacting police, members of the public or organisations can register online with Project Kraken and police will contact them with urgent information and intelligence updates concerning marine crime or, at times of heightened risk or terrorist threat levels, specific reports or requests that they may be able to assist with, for example: the observing and reporting of suspicious persons, vessels or vehicles or to look out for stolen boats.

Detective Chief Inspector Ali Darge from the Sussex Special Branch Ports Unit said: “Sussex Counter Terrorism Intelligence officers are working with local Neighbourhood Policing teams to support Project Kraken, ensuring that there is a strong and effective link with our maritime communities.

“We are very keen for the public to report suspicious activity so that we can respond in the most effective way.”