The charity Crimestoppers has launched an industry-facing campaign in partnership with Counter Terrorism Policing aimed at those who work and use commercial maritime ports.
PORTSAFE is an initiative between police, commercial maritime operators and security officers working within UK ports and port facilities. It enables Counter Terrorism Border Policing to increase awareness of security-related matters and supports the training of staff by signposting to the ACT suite of training and specialist briefing materials. It also provides a bespoke and anonymous method of reporting matters of concern via a dedicated Crimestoppers ‘hotline’ and online reporting capability. This provides a safe environment for anyone to pass on their concerns via Crimestoppers whilst guaranteeing 100% anonymity.
For many years, police have worked closely with businesses who use and operate commercial maritime ports to improve security at our borders. Business representatives raised the need for a dedicated reporting mechanism that allows people to remain anonymous should they wish to. Police have worked with the charity Crimestoppers to respond to this request in an approach that will enhance the safety and security of our ports.
All people who work at and use commercial maritime port facilities are being reminded to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour, even among staff. Although it is rare for people who are part of the workforce to be involved in criminal or terrorist activities, Crimestoppers is reminding port staff not be complacent when it comes to observing colleagues and other on-site workers.
The UK ports industry is the second largest in Europe. The industry handles more than 500 million tonnes of freight and over 60 million international and domestic passenger journeys every year** making UK ports and port facilities an attractive target for criminals.
PORTSAFE is being rolled out across the UK to support and encourage individuals working in or around UK ports to have the knowledge and power to recognise when something is out of the ordinary. Specialist training will ensure that when something does not feel right, workers have the ability to tell someone 100% anonymously.
For those working in or around a port, there is a unique and dedicated Crimestoppers-run PORTSAFE Hotline on 0800 141 2927 and an online reporting facility at Portsafe.co.uk. Workers can speak up about criminal or terrorist activity they suspect within UK ports, whilst staying anonymous. In an emergency, please call 999.
Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “While lots of attention is quite rightly focused on warning the public to be mindful of possible criminal activity, including terrorism, it’s just as important to emphasise to staff the importance of being vigilant. We hope that by promoting PORTSAFE through a variety of channels, it will act as a constant reminder to businesses, employers and employees to pay more attention to what they see and, where necessary, to report what they might previously have accepted at face value.
“Criminal activity and terrorist activities can, in the worst-case scenario, involve staff. Often co-workers might feel uncomfortable at raising suspicions over a colleague. However, safety at our ports is paramount and Crimestoppers is here to take information in a completely anonymous way, so staff who have concerns about suspicious behaviour can speak up without any fears.”