South West Portwatch scheme launched
Yesterday, 12 December 2017, PCC Martyn Underhill and Poole Harbour Watch supported the launch of a new South West Portwatch scheme, which took place at the Dorset Police Marine Unit in Poole.
The scheme has been rolled out across the strategic alliance, aiming to tackle the specific and unique challenges faced by marine communities. The scheme consists of a secure website and a phone application which sends push notifications out to members.
Inspector Derek McKerl of the Alliance Operations Department said: “Portwatch is a two-way regional messaging system that allows the police, partners and marine communities to share intelligence and manage threat, risk and harm more efficiently. The scheme allows members to report marine or ports related crime directly to those working in this specialised area, reducing demand on control rooms.
“Via a mobile app, officers are able to share information across the three counties without the need to return to the station. This ensures we are able to act on any suspicious activity quickly to keep our communities safe. I encourage local businesses operating in and out of the marine environment to sign up.”
As part of the drive to increase the number of businesses involved in the scheme, a number of licenses have been made available, which provide for two years of free membership. The tools and resources available on the online platform allow for announcements to be sent direct to members’ mobile phones or inboxes. It also has the capability to create chat rooms.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: “Since I began campaigning on the issue of port security back in 2015, things are beginning to move in the right direction with more freight searches taking place locally and a closer working relationship between Dorset Police and Border Force, but we cannot be complacent.
“Dorset has an expansive coastline of over 85 miles to police, so in addition to a strong first line of defence through Border Force and Special Branch officers, we need strong links to regional community intelligence. Portwatch is a really innovative way of sharing information quickly on one database, which we haven’t had before.”
To find out more about the South West Portwatch scheme, visit www.maritimeportwatch.schemelink.co.uk. If you feel that your business could benefit from membership, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.