Hartlepool Coastalwatch team launched to crackdown on crime at town's seafront
Protecting Hartlepool’s coastline from crime and other troubles is the focus of a new partnership launched this week.
Hartlepool Coastalwatch has been spearheaded by police and a host of local organisations have got on board to share information and solve problems by working more closely together.
Partners include everyone from organisations that deal with everything from modern day slavery and protecting Hartlepool’s nuclear power station to council ecologists and the Environment Agency.
Coastalwatch co-ordinator PCSO Cath Jones said: “What we’re trying to do is work better together and stop things from happening like modern day slavery, smuggling of contraband as well as things like anti-social behaviour, setting fires and wildlife persecution.”
PC Kieth Robinson, who has also helped to set up the new group, added: “From the number of people who have been in touch and the way it’s spread shows the need for more joined up working around the coast.”We have all got our own areas of expertise and between us have got a lot of resources and equipment that we may be able to use if we do operations and action days.
“It’s just giving that better level of service and doesn’t require a lot of extra effort.
“It is just working smarter.”
Other partners include the coastguard, Hartlepool Coastwatch, port operator PD Ports and Natural England.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill and Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger attended the launch meeting at Hartlepool Civic Centre and gave the scheme their full backing.
Mr Hill, who chairs an all party group on Coastal Communities in Westminster, said: “This is exactly the kind of initiative that I can pick up on, welcome and put into the national wider sphere.
“More importantly it is engaging with the issues.”
Mr Coppinger added the group has tremendous potential saying: “There is a Tees Valley rural crime forum but I think the coast is an area in its own right and we need to work collaboratively to safeguard it from all sorts of threats whether it be environmental, organised criminals or anti-social behaviour.”
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell of Hartlepool Community Safety Team said the focus would be on preventing problems and asked partners at the meeting to set out some of their priorities for issues to focus on.
Ways in which members of the public can contact and help the group have yet to be decided but social media is expected to be part of it.