Port of Dover Police
|Port of Dover Police|
|Badge of the Port of Dover Police.|
|Employees||47 plus civilian support|
|Legal personality||Non government: Privately funded police service|
|Operations jurisdiction*||Port area of Dover Harbour Board in the country of England, UK|
|Location of Port of Dover|
|Population||Nil - (16 million passengers per year + port staff)|
|Legal jurisdiction||Land & Property belonging to Dover Harbour Board and up to 1-mile (1.6 km) from same|
|Governing body||Dover Harbour Board|
|Constituting instrument||Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847|
|Headquarters||Police Station, Eastern Docks, Dover. CT16 1JA.|
|Agency executive||Steve Masters, Chief Superintendent (Chief Officer)|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The Port of Dover Police (PoDP) is a non-Home Office police service which provides a 24 hour policing service to the Port of Dover, Kent, England. The force is the busiest port police force in the UK, and although small, is in terms of dealing with general crime matters, arrests, and traffic offences the second busiest non-Home Office police force in the country after the British Transport Police.
Organisation & Role 
The PoDP is established, funded and maintained by the owners of the Port of Dover, the Dover Harbour Board, the statutory undertakers, under section 79 of the Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847. As a result, police officers of the PoDP have full powers of a constable within the limits of the harbour, dock, pier, and premises of the Dover Harbour Board (DHB), and within one mile (1.6 km) of the same.
In purely legal terms, as the DHB own significant areas of land on the sea front of Dover together with the one mile (1.6 km) extension of their jurisdiction, PoDP officers retain full constabulary powers throughout most of the Dover area. The DHB also own land in an area known as ‘Port Zone’ in the village of Whitfield outside Dover itself. As a result PoDP have jurisdiction in an area to the north of Dover that does not fall within the 1-mile (1.6 km) radius of land owned by DHB that borders the sea.
However, in practical terms the policing activities of the PoDP are directed at the Eastern and Western Dock Terminals and the public promenade located between the two terminals. The PoDP do not police the ‘Port Zone’ outlined above and do not, as a matter of routine, exercise police powers outside of DHB owned land (apart from in cases of urgent assistance to Kent Police and in relation to traffic management to the extent that PoDP jurisdiction allows).
The area policed by the PoDP is not a separate police area as defined by the Police Act 1996 and as a result primary responsibility for the maintenance and enforcement of criminal law throughout the County of Kent including the Port of Dover rests with the Chief Constable of Kent Police. Kent Police and PoDP do have a long history of working together in relation to the port and its immediate surroundings.
As the PoDP do not have their own custody facilities, the practice has been that people who have been arrested have been taken to Kent Police's Dover police station. When the custody suite at Dover police station closed in November 2011, PoDP officers would have instead been required to take arrestees to Canterbury, Folkestone or Margate police stations, but the force received a legal opinion stating that it would be unlawful as this would put them outside the one mile limit of their jurisdiction. Suspects are currently arrested by officers from Kent Police's Special Branch and transported by them to a suitable police station. The Marine Navigation Act 2013 enables this problem to be resolved by allowing the jurisdiction of port police officers to extend to the police area in which they are located where the chief officer of the local police force consents.
Memorandum of Understanding 
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PoDP and Kent Police sets out each organisation's responsibilities. The MOU sets out that ultimately the responsibility for the investigation of criminal offences committed within the Port and other DHB properties rests with Kent Police.
However the PoDP do investigate all criminal offences within the Port except those offences deemed as serious or that are beyond the capability or capacity of its limited size. Serious offences committed within the Port, such as acts of terrorism, murder, manslaughter, rape, facilitation of illegal immigration or any incident involving the death (suspicious or not) of a person are investigated by Kent Police. However, PoDP officers will take immediate necessary action prior to the arrival of Kent Police officers in such cases. Kent Police assist PoDP with crimes that they do investigate by providing such services as forensic officers, specialist support units and custody office facilities (the PoDP not having their own custody suite).
Whilst national arrangements exist between territorial police forces for mutual aid policing, these do not apply between a territorial and non ‘Home Office’ forces such as PoDP. However, the PoDP will, when resources and legal jurisdiction permit, respond to calls for assistance from Kent Police in the Dover area.
As of 2012, the Port of Dover Police had an establishment of one Chief Superintendent (Chief Officer), one Superintendent (Deputy Chief Officer), two Inspectors, six Sergeants and thirty-eight Constables. The current Chief Officer is Chief Superintendent Steve Masters; the current Deputy Chief Officer is Superintendent Paul Wilczek.
The majority of officers perform uniformed mobile and foot patrols incorporating a neighbourhood policing unit, the force also has a small Criminal Investigation Department staffed by three detective constables and a detective sergeant, CID officers attend detective training courses at Kent Police training school. One constable is employed as a training officer (initial and in-service training) and the force provides all initial training not only for its own officers and staff, but also for the Port of Bristol Police and the Port of Felixstowe Police.
The Port of Dover operates 24 hours a day seven days a week which sees over 16.5 million passengers pass through it each year, this combined with huge volumes of cars lorries and coaches make it the busiest ferry port in Europe, additionally the port handles an ever increasing number of cargo ships, cruise ships and a huge movement of leisure craft at the marina. These statistics result in a very high level of daily interaction with the public which make it unique among some other port police forces. During 2009 officers of Port of Dover Police effected over 700 arrests for a wide variety of offences ranging from drink driving to theft, from fraud to public order. Add to that hundreds of other traffic and crime offences that were dealt with by way of reporting for summons, or by the issue of fixed penalty notices.
Civilian staff are employed alongside police officers, particularly in the manning of the control room and cctv cameras in the operational police station just inside the main entrance to the Eastern Docks. A separate headquarters building is located further inside the Eastern Docks, from where the Chief Officer and his deputy operate, along with the CID department and administration staff.
The rank structure of the Port of Dover Police is as shown below.
(The numbers & letters in the first two images are representational - these actual collar numbers do not exist.)
|Sergeant||Inspector||Deputy Chief Officer
Facilities and Equipment 
Officers wear identical uniforms to their colleagues in other forces throughout the country, including the familiar helmet of British police constables. They also wear stab resistant vests, carry asp extendable batons, rigid handcuffs and pava incapacitant spray. They are also equipped with encrypted personal radios. The force operates a small fleet of marked and unmarked police vehicles. All police drivers undergo the standard police driving course. There is also a marine capability with Delta99, a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), which not only provides security within the docks and cruise ship terminals, but is also used to good effect in combating marine crime in the marina the inner harbour and surrounding areas of the port. The RIB also provides assistance to small craft and has been utilised in the recovery of property and bodies from the sea, the foreshore, and the inaccessible areas below the white cliffs that stretch east and west of the port.
- "Port of Dover Police unable to make lawful arrests for almost a year". This Is Kent. September 13 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.