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Coastal Areas: Police

Home Office written question – answered on 15th February 2017.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to improve coastal and marine policing in the East of England.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

This government recognises the importance of protecting our shores, which consist of over 11,000 miles of mainland coastline. Border Force is focused on coordinating resources and the timely sharing of intelligence to deliver the right level of security. This work means that the UK has a layered approach to coastal defence, which includes on-shore resources and intelligence and surveillance capabilities. It also includes an integrated command structure, working with other government departments and near-Europe partners.

Additionally Border Force and operational partners are currently conducting intelligence-led activity on a number of fronts. Building an effective intelligence picture and understanding is essential to combat both opportunistic individuals and Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) who would seek to circumvent UK border controls. Border Force has established a Maritime Information Bureau, attached to the National Maritime Information Centre to coordinate all maritime intelligence flows respectively and to inform multi-agency operational responses aimed at securing the UK border. This is supported by public facing intelligence work under the banner of Project Kraken. Kraken has helped raise awareness in local communities to the threats within maritime draw stakeholders together via an engagement strategy, and develop a more effective methodology for intelligence sharing; ensuring assets and resource can be deployed to deliver greatest effect.

Finally, Border Force has purchased new capability, in the form of coastal patrol vessels (CPV). These new boats complement the work being done by Border Force’s cutter fleet and are being introduced in a phased approach over two years. The first was deployed in October last year and there will be more in service by the end of April 2017. They are smaller than the cutters and far more nimble and responsive. The CPVs’ unique capabilities, speed and size, will allow them to provide an enhanced level of responsiveness in cross-Channel, Channel Islands and Estuarine areas; releasing the cutters to complete longer-range operations around the coast. The purchase of this additional capability forms part of Border Force’s long term strategic planning which will enable it to support operations in the maritime sector. They will help Border Force to respond to a range of criminal activity both now and in the future.

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