Sailors to ‘spy’ on terror suspects
(The Press Association) Mariners are to become spies to help combat terrorism in the first scheme of its kind across the UK.
Sailors, boat users and nautical companies will become the “eyes and ears” of police officers on the Solent – Britain’s busiest waterway – under the scheme called Project Kraken.
It gives people the chance to report suspicious activity on the water and keep abreast of terror threats with regular emails and a quarterly newsletter. The scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, was being launched by Hampshire Police at the Southampton Boat Show.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Watts, whose Specialist Operations portfolio leads on counter-terrorism strategy, said: “By joining Project Kraken and enhancing counter-terrorist awareness, we will be able to achieve an exchange of information with the public which will make the portal area a safer place.
“We need members of the marine community to be our eyes and ears on the water and report back to us any suspicious activity or unusual occurrence. Communities defeat terrorism.
“This is an exciting enhancement to the protective services we provide to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It is the first such scheme in the country, and is already been looked at by other forces, which is a testament to the innovative work being carried out by the officers of Hampshire Constabulary.”
A web page, http://www.hampshire.police.uk/kraken, has been set up to encourage marina owners, partner agencies, commercial bodies and local communities to provide a hostile environment to terrorists and criminals by becoming members.
Members can report unusual activity through a central telephone number and website link. They may be sent urgent updates or contacted during times of heightened risk and may be given a specific mission regarding an individual, group or vessel causing suspicion.
Membership is free and includes a Kraken pack with information and membership merchandise.
Project Kraken is backed by the Solent Portal Maritime Security Group (SPMSG), of which members include HM Revenue and Customs, Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth, Associated British Ports, BP, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Hampshire Constabulary.
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