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River police merge to slash overheads

PUBLISHED: 14:42 19 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:42 23 August 2010

UNITED FRONT: Steve Hiscock from Kent Police Authority, Andy Adams, David Snelson, Derek Benson and Essex Police Authority chair, Robert Chambers,

UNITED FRONT: Steve Hiscock from Kent Police Authority, Andy Adams, David Snelson, Derek Benson and Essex Police Authority chair, Robert Chambers,

THE natural barrier separating Kent and Essex - The River Thames - will create links to two counties police forces. Commanders of both units met at London River house, in Gravesend, to sign a landmark agreement to join forces to police the river. The s

THE natural barrier separating Kent and Essex - The River Thames - will create links to two counties' police forces.

Commanders of both units met at London River house, in Gravesend, to sign a landmark agreement to join forces to police the river.

The scheme is expected to save hundreds of thousands as well as cutting criminal use of the waterway.

A pilot scheme of the Joint Marine Unit begun 18 months ago proved so successful, saving £100,000, it has been formally adopted by Kent, Essex and supported with vital information from the Port of London Authority.

Speaking last Friday, Kent Assistant Chief Constable Andy Adams said: "There will be no hiding place for criminals trying to use the Thames for illegal activity.

"Our combined resources take us to the forefront of river policing and we look forward to building on the existing partnership we have with our colleagues in Essex and at the Port of London authority."

Under the pilot scheme numbers of vehicles boarded for security checks leapt from 73 in 2008 to 182 in 2009 while site visits to potential crime hotspots rose from 144 to nearly 900.

The chair of Kent Police Authority Ann Barnes added: "I'm delighted that we have now formalised the sharing of our Kent and Essex marine units. Both parties will complement each other by bringing their own skills and knowledge. I'm also pleased that the Port of London Authority has chosen to endorse this arrangement.

"This agreement is fundamental in making sure we have one of the safest coastlines in the UK. It will also be good news for the police council taxpayer, as we will save money as a result.

"We are facing tough financial times and by working together we can ensure we provide a value for money policing service on both sides of the river.

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