DORSET’S police and crime commissioner said the county cannot become complacent over port security as he launched a new initiative.

Martyn Underhill has backed the South West Portwatch scheme, which aims to tackle the challenges faced by marine communities.

The scheme was officially launched at Dorset Police’s marine unit base in Poole this week.

Members will have access to a secure website and phone notifications.

Inspector Derek McKerl of the alliance operations department said: “Portwatch is a two-way regional messaging system that allows the police, partner and marine communities to share intelligence.”

Members can report crime directly to those working in this specialised area, reducing demand on control rooms, he said.

Mr Underhill said: “Dorset has an expansive coastline of more than 85 miles to police, so in addition to a strong first line of defence through Border Force and Special Branch officers, we need strong links to regional community intelligence.

“Portwatch is a really innovative way of sharing information quickly on one database, which we haven’t had before.”

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