Residents who live or work on and around the county’s coastline and waterways are being asked to report suspicious or unusual activity as part of a multi-agency law enforcement campaign.
There are nearly 20,000 miles of coastline nationally, and a complex network of estuaries, navigable rivers, coves, inlets, ports and harbours, all of which can be exploited by criminals and terrorists.
In Sussex alone there are 75 miles of coastline from Chichester to Rye and more than 140 miles of rivers.
Project Kraken, a joint initiative now being delivered by the National Crime Agency, 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.
Reporting channels have been simplified to make it easier for people across the country who live or work near the coastline and waterways, or who take part in waster-based activities.
They can contact either the police through firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 101 or the national independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously. By contacting the police, members of the public or organisations can register online with Project Kraken. 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 keen for the public to report suspicious activity so that we can respond in the most effective way.”
730 people are already enrolled in Project Kraken across Sussex.