Police and partners at Humber Ports came together for the launch of Project Scimitar this week.
The initiative developed by Humberside Police, working in conjunction with Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Border Force, MOD, Crimestoppers, NCA (National Crime Agency), Modern Slavery UK and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit builds on the joint approach to managing the security of the Humber portal region from exploitation by terrorist and organised crime groups.
Formally launched by Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble the initiative has been underway for some months and sees police officers and partners from Border Force and MOD colleagues conducting proactive visits aboard vessels, regular days of action and high visibility patrols thought the port area(s).
At its core, the initiative aims to improve awareness of issues that the marine community using both UK and overseas ports may come across to enable them to report any concerns.
Commercial ports see vast numbers of vessels, vehicles and people passing through them every day.
Protecting the integrity of the borders, UK national security and the general public is paramount.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Noble from Humberside Police said: “I am proud to have been able to launch Project Scimitar which is a multi-agency approach led by Humberside Police to further protect our ports, borders and the people who work and pass through them.
“Our ports are extremely busy, and they are essential commercial hubs that contribute hugely to our local economies and those across the UK.
“We do have things coming in and leaving our ports that we want to have more of an impact on. These elements include organised criminal activity, drugs, human trafficking, modern day slavery and potential terrorist threats.
“Project Scimitar will see us raise the game and come together to increase security and make the ports even safer and secure, as well as being able to protect vulnerable individuals.
“We already work very closely with port authorities and our partners, and have our own Marine Patrol and Regional Underwater Search Units that regularly police our waters. This partnership working will help and add to the capability we already have, and the work we already do.
“As always, policing is only as good as the information we get. Very often that comes from the public. They might see something suspicious and decide not to report it to us, but we really want them to.
“The key is really good quality information that we can go and act on or build on. If you have any concerns please contact us.”
Superintendent Matt Davison is the Regional Protect and Prepare Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said: “Protecting our borders is a significant challenge and initiatives such as this, where we can work closely with our multi agency colleagues to maximise our efforts, maintain security and identify vulnerable individuals is vital in our ongoing work to protect the public.
“The maritime communities visiting UK and international Ports are the eyes and ears of Project Scimitar. We are encouraging everyone to be alive to things that may be suspicious or just not seem right and make a report to police or Crimestoppers. Information can be given over the phone or online. If there is an emergency, people should always dial 999.
“This includes concerns around terrorism, people trafficking, the exploitation of migrants and low wages, as well as potentially suspicious behaviour of people or vehicles.
“By reporting concerns about potentially suspicious activity or something that just doesn’t seem right they can help keep the Humber Ports safer for everyone. You are not wasting our time in making a report. Information is assessed and appropriate action taken by the most suitable agency.
“Whilst in isolation your information may not seem significant, it is possible that, in conjunction with other information, it could help tackle terrorism, crime or protect vulnerable people.”