‘Little progress’ made with anti-crime campaign in ports

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A government campaign to crack down on suspicious activity at UK coastal ports has been described as ‘dead in the water’, according to a report.

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) David Neal said “little progress” had been made with Project Kraken – launched with the aim of ending immigration and criminal offenses customs and to fight serious and organized crime, smuggling and terrorism in small ports.

Experienced maritime professionals, such as harbor masters and marina managers, thought the campaign was “dead in the water” because they hadn’t heard of it “for several years, if at all”, according to his report.

The project, operational since 2008 and which should be relaunched in the coming months, aims to collect information from the public to improve security in small ports.

Mr Neal and his team carried out an inspection of the effectiveness of Border Force’s role leading the campaign in Whitby, North East Yorkshire, and Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk.

He found that “little progress had been made” with the project and that the “already low volumes of intelligence” generated had “reduced and produced no actionable intelligence”.

Mr Neal added: “While I cannot definitively conclude that the Kraken project is failing, I believe it still has some way to go to achieve its goals.”

Its report says inspectors spoke to “stakeholders with professional maritime industry experience who were knowledgeable about the national coastline and related safety issues,” adding, “These stakeholders were aware of Project Kraken but believed that he was “dead in the water” after hearing nothing about the Border Force project for several years, if at all.

The Home Office said it “fully accepts” ICIBI’s recommendation to “critically assess” and, if necessary, provide more resources and establish a new way of reporting. information, adding: “Work is already underway to resolve the issues raised”.

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