Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 13:36 UK

River Thames 'no hiding place for criminals'

Dartford crossing
Police on both sides of the river will work with the Port of London

Two police forces have teamed up with the Port of London Authority (PLA) to tackle illegal activity at one of Britain's largest ports.

Kent and Essex police have signed a partnership for policing the Thames which will increase special operations on the river and save money.

Kent Police assistant chief constable Andy Adams said the Thames would be "no hiding place for criminals".

The move would put officers at the forefront of river policing, he said.

Both forces and the port authority will share intelligence and information.

'Enhance security'

PLA chief harbour master David Snelson said: "The tidal Thames is Britain's second biggest port, catering for tens of thousands of vessels every year.

"I'm pleased that information gathered by the Port of London Authority on ship movements in this busy waterway can be used by Kent and Essex police to enhance the security of both river users and the people of south east England."

In a joint statement, the police forces said combining resources would enable marine unit officers to increase their specialised tasks as well as continuing everyday policing.

It is the latest stage in closer working between the two forces, which have already worked together on IT and setting up a specialist crime directorate.

The Kent and Essex joint marine unit has already increased the number of vehicles boarded for security checks from 73 in 2008 to 182 in 2009.

Specialist visits to sites of strategic importance such as energy and transport locations increased from 144 in 2008 to nearly 900 in 2009.

The statement said closer working by the Kent and Essex joint marine unit had saved more than £100,00 in the past 18 months.

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