Marine Police Unit at Teddington launch

Marine Watch – a new police initiative to beat crime on rivers and canals -  has been launched on the Thames.

Based on Neighbourhood Watch, the scheme currently covers waterways in the Metropolitan Police’s area. That includes the non-tidal river from Hampton to Teddington, the tidal Thames downstream to the QEII bridge at Dartford and the capital’s canals. 

And talks are under way to extend the scheme to the Surrey and Thames Valley Police areas.

Sgt Stuart Jenkins of the Met’s Marine Police Unit (MPU) said: “The aim is to have one marine watch for the whole of the River Thames and I believe this is achievable.”

Marine Watch formalises police work with other agencies, clubs, community groups and individuals along London’s waterways to prevent or tackle crime.

As a key feature of the newly-launched scheme, police are urging boat owners to register details of their vessels, engines and equipment on the Marine Watch Database and on Immobilise - the website of the UKN national property register (details below).

The Canal and River Trust, Environment Agency and Port of London Authority are among the agencies which have signed up to the scheme which was officially launched by the MPU at Teddington Lock.

Marine Watch encourages communities and groups to set up watch groups and individuals can also register. The marine unit and local police officers then work with these groups and individuals to identify and tackle local problems.

Sgt Jenkins said the unit would be in touch with clubs along the river and where possible arrange briefing sessions on crime prevention.

The benefits of signing up to Marine Watch include newsletters and updates, crime prevention advice, property marking sessions and bulk registration with, informative window stickers, key rings and dedicated email.

Also available is an outboard cover which comes in several sizes and replaces the cowling when the engine is not in use. PC Billy Sargent explained: "It's a deterrent. If thieves do target the outboard they will soon see the cowling is missing and therefore it's hardly worth stealing and they will know the engine details have been registered."

The scheme has received positive support from the Thames community.

Darren Knight, Port of London Authority Assistant Harbour Master said: “We are fully behind Marine Watch. Our boat registration scheme  during the London Olympics worked very well and this is a continuation of the same kind of idea.”

The Environment Agency’s Nick McKie-Smith said: “We fully support this and are pleased to be involved with anything that tackles crime or anti-social behaviour”

Michael Shefras of the River Users Group said:”Boat owners will be very pleased this has been launched especially if it spreads to other parts of the river.” Stuart Colley, Commodore of the Teddington-based Thamesis Club, said: “We are delighted. There have been one or two problems on the Thames  but this will help tackle them”.

How to register

To register for Marine Watch registration scheme and to receive an information pack email or write to Marine Watch, Wapping Police Station, 98 Wapping High Street, London, E1W 2NE.

Online registration will be shortly available at where more details of the scheme are available.

Police emphasise the information provided as part of the Marine Watch registration is handled in strict compliance with the Data Protection Act and in accordance with its own Code of Practice.

You can follow the activities of the Marine Police Unit on Twitter @MPSonthewater and follow #marinewatch

Immobilise website is HERE

Marine Watch is part of Operation Kraken, a national police initiative, which  encourages all those that live or work rivers and canals to report crimes and suspicious or anti-social behaviour.

Story dated June 12th 2013


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