PEOPLE in Shoreham and Southwick are urged to support a new campaign to combat marine crime.
Project Kraken is targeting people who live or work on and around the coastline and river, in a bid to get their help to track down criminals.
The multi-agency law enforcement campaign is urging people to report suspicious or unusual activity, like signalling and ‘nervous’ movements.
Sussex Police said criminals and terrorists could exploit the complex network of waterways in the county, including 75 miles of coastline from Chichester to Rye and more than 140 miles of rivers.
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.”
Project Kraken, a joint initiative 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 it is felt they have the expertise and local knowledge to spot anything out of the ordinary.
Shoreham Port Authority said it welcomed the move.
Julian Seaman, harbour master and director marine operations, said: “Shoreham Port has always worked very closely with Sussex Police in the prevention of crimes for all of our stakeholders.
“Project Kraken has supported the marine sector, both leisure and commercial, since being rolled out.”
Presentations are being given by police and posters and leaflets are being distributed in the area to encourage more people to sign up.
David Armond, director of the NCA’s Border Policing Command, said: “Information from the public could be crucial to helping us fight organised crime.
“People who are often in and around the coast and waterways will know unusual and suspicious behaviour when they spot it.
“If you see something that doesn’t look quite right, let the police or Crimestoppers know. It could help police deal with crimes such as thieves stealing your boats or outboard motors, just as much as it could prevent a terrorist, drug or people smuggling plot.”
Contact the police by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Once people have contacted the police, individuals and organisations can register online with Project Kraken, joining the 730 people already enrolled.
Police can then contact them with urgent information and intelligence updates concerning marine crime, or ask for help observing suspicious vehicles.
Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson, from the national counter terrorism policing HQ, said: “We welcome Project Kraken which, in addition to tackling organised crime, also addresses the threat from terrorism which is real, unpredictable, and constantly changing.”