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Accountability and Standards of the Port Police Forces

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Annex D

Merseyside and Port of Liverpool Police: Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the principles of co-operation agreed between the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police (Merseyside Police) and the Chief Officer of the Port of Liverpool Police (Port Police).

It provides an understanding of operational policing responsibilities and the partnership style of co-operation required to achieve an effective policing of the Port of Liverpool (including Birkenhead) and the adjoining areas.

It recognises that whilst the Port Police exist to police the Dock Estates of Liverpool and Birkenhead owned by The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Merseyside Police has a legal duty to maintain a police service throughout Merseyside.


The Port Police will provide its resources to meet its commitment and will be the initial response for all reported incidents inside the Port, provided it is within its resource and skills capability. Otherwise it will call upon Merseyside Police to deal or investigate.

When the Port Police receive reports of serious crime or serious incidents within the Port such as:-

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Serious Life Threatening Assaults
  • Armed Crime
  • Crime requiring significant or specialist resources to investigate
  • Fatal Traffic Collisions
  • Large Scale Disorder
  • Terrorism and Subversion
  • Extradition Matters

These will be subject to handover to Merseyside Police to investigate and manage. Handover or shared responsibility will be as a result of consultation between the relevant Area Commander and the Chief Officer of the Port Police. A policy document will record the decision making process.

Reports received in the Port Police Control Room concerning serious incidents or serious crime included in the aforementioned list which require immediate attention of deployment of Port Police resources, then the following procedure will be adopted:-

The duty Port Police Supervisory Officer will be informed and will ensure the notification of the crime or incident to the Merseyside Police Force Incident Manager. The Supervisor will then risk assess deployment of Port Police officers to the incident in order to secure the scene and any evidence prior to the deployment of Merseyside Police officers.

The Port Police will continue to investigate sudden deaths arising from industrial accidents and incidents in line with the national protocol with the Health and Safety Executive, but should evidence emerge which casts doubt or increases suspicion, then Merseyside Police should take over the enquiry.

In order to provide for the mutual support of each Force to the other, and in an effort to reduce the number of incidents to be transferred to Merseyside Police, Merseyside Police may provide specialist skills, equipment and services, and prisoner facilities without cost to the Port Police and the Port Police may in turn provide services, within its purview, which may benefit the Merseyside Police.

Merseyside Police accept that as areas of the Port are developed for leisure, residential and unrelated commercial ventures, and in turn form part of an adjacent community, then direct policing responsibility will transfer from the Port Police to Merseyside Police. Delineation of those areas will be determined in consultation between the Chief Officer of the Port Police and the relevant Area Commander of Merseyside Police and recorded as part of this document.

It is agreed that the Port Police will continue to present a highly visible presence in such areas whilst passing through them to their own areas of responsibility. They will respond to incidents, back-up Merseyside Police if requested, and provided resources permit, will attend any incidents when reasonably requested to do so by the Merseyside Police and in turn supply the requisite report to the relevant area. In addition, again provided resources and demand permit, the Port Police will respond on behalf of the Merseyside Police to incidents outside but immediately adjacent to the Docks, provided this falls within their area of legal jurisdiction, and that a proper risk assessment has been completed. If an existing alarm monitoring service is already provided by the Port Police to premises where policing has been transferred to Merseyside, then this will continue. New proposals for alarm monitoring in Merseyside Police areas will only be agreed after consultation with the respective Area Commander.

Custody Facilities and Prosecutions

All Port Police prisoners will be taken to and accepted at an available Custody Suite in Merseyside. (See separate (S.L.A.) for full detail).

Consideration should be given to the fact that apart from St. Anne Street and Birkenhead other Custody Suites are outside the jurisdiction of Port officers.

Port Police will continue their own independent prosecution process and file management, including direct contact with C.P.S.

However, in the event of a Port Police officer making an arrest outside the Port and for an offence in the Merseyside area, not related to the Port, then the reporting and file management procedure will follow the relevant Merseyside Police area system, unless in a specific case a separate agreement is reached between the relevant Area Commander and the Chief Officer of the Port Police.

The dilemma of a Port Police officer in uniform in a marked police vehicle which is confronted by ‘an incident’, but outside the mile boundary of his power, is recognised. i.e. Public perception and expectations.

It is paramount that Merseyside officers are aware of this when summoned to assist Port officers who have either exercised their powers as a citizen or taken temporary control of an issue e.g., traffic congestion at scene of a R.T.C. etc., that that officer does not have the powers of a Constable. The Merseyside officer must take over at the earliest opportunity. In these circumstances Port officers should not conduct enquiries. Prisoners should be handed over, but in the event of a Merseyside officer not being available, then prisoner(s) should be transported to a Custody Suite forthwith and handed over.

The other issues for Port officers whilst operating:-

  • Outside Port (Crime) - Non-Port offence(s) – Merseyside Police – arrest for crime – take to Custody Suite and HAND OVER.
  • Outside Port (Non-Crime) – Port officer deals – if arrests, to Custody Suite but follow Merseyside process (e.g., Drink Drive – Drunk & Disorderly – Disqualified Driving).

If no arrest report via Merseyside process e.g. Traffic Offences.

  • Inside Port - but arrests for offence(s) previously committed outside Port, detain and take to Custody Suite for hand-over. No enquiries by Port officers.

In the event of an incident occurring involving large numbers of demonstrators etc., with the potential for large numbers of arrests, a previously agreed plan, agreed by both parties, will be put in place which ensures continuity of evidence in the correct identification of arresting officer i.e. prisoner photographed with arresting officer.

Legal Claims

In the event of any legal claim/civil action following an arrest or action by a police officer(s) of either Force, which has the potential to impact on the other, then each party will consult with the other, prior to any admissions of liability, provided always that such consultation shall not be obligatory in the event of a conflict of interests.

Press and Publicity

In the event there is a need for a press release or press conference relating to an incident in the Port or adjacent thereto, which has an impact upon or involves both Forces, consultation will take place between the respective Press Departments and in appropriate cases, the relevant Area Commander and the Chief Officer of the Port Police. Merseyside Police will take the lead on press matters which affect both Forces, unless by agreement in any given case, both parties agree that the Port Police will take the lead on a particular issue.


Both Forces recognise that in order to achieve the aim of this protocol and provide the best standard of policing required, the Port of Liverpool Police officers need to be trained to the highest possible standards.

It is therefore agreed that:-

  • Merseyside Police may, from within its own training programme, provide facilities for members of the Port Police with core training, which includes investigation and operational matters.
  • These facilities will extend to all operational officers including investigators and supervisors.
  • The Port Police may reciprocate by providing trainers and training venues and facilities for use by Merseyside Police officers.

It is agreed that the above services and facilities will be provided by the respective ‘host Force’ at no cost.


Merseyside Police will provide controlled access to:-

  • P.N.C. - Access via respective Control Rooms.
  • I.S.B. - Local Intelligence Units (ORACLE) – (See Separate S.L.A. document for full details).
  • C.R.O. - For criminal records search.

Checks to include the following vetting issues:-

  • New recruits to the Port Police.
  • Security personnel to be trained and involved in anti-terrorist roles connected to –
    • Aviation & Maritime Security Act (A.M.S.A.).
    • The International Ship & Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) (effective July 2004).
  • I.C.J.S. - At Custody Suites, via Merseyside Police Personnel to provide relevant data used for prosecutions and file preparation.
  • The supply of uniform clothing and attendant equipment. i.e., The Port of Liverpool Police may procure uniform and other goods/services from IOMA clothing in conjunction with Merseyside Police Purchasing and Supplies Department. (This service attracts an agreed administrative fee for Port Police see separate S.L.A. document).
  • The machinery for Scenes of Crime and Forensic when it is beyond the capability of the Port Force.

Merseyside Police may, upon request, and subject to operational availability, provide the services of an officer of appropriate rank to conduct investigations concerning complaints by the public and/or internal reports or allegations concerning the conduct of Port Police officers.

Merseyside Police will, upon request and subject to operational availability, provide the services of a 2 approved Superintendents and when appropriate the services of an Assistant Chief Constable, to the Port of Liverpool Police for the purposes of Misconduct Hearings in accordance with the separate SLA.

Merseyside Police will, in accordance with a separate Service Level Agreement, permit the Port of Liverpool Police to utilise their policy, procedures and arrangements for dealing with vehicles seized in accordance with Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 and Section 152 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2003.

The Port Police will reciprocate where possible by making equipment and premises available for special events, occasions and training. The Port Police will also permit access to its CCTV system should it be suitable for a local adjacent operation, and via The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company will facilitate accommodation for ‘Port Units’ at Irish Sea Ferry venue(s), and the Port Police will supply alarm monitoring and response service free of normal charge to such premises.


The mutually supportive arrangements provided for this Memorandum of Understanding will be subject to regular review by either or both Forces, and in any event a formal process every 2 years of this agreement and on every second anniversary thereafter.

The continued review should include efforts to reduce demand on Merseyside Police by the Port of Liverpool Police in connection with PNC and Intelligence (Oracle) enquiries, with the aim of legally permitting the Port Police direct access to and authorised but controlled levels of both services.

Each Force will then co-operate with the other in seeking to agree any amendments which either Force believes necessary for the practical or cost-effective co-operation of the Forces.

Dated: ………………………………………….

Signed for ………………………………………

Merseyside Police

Signed for ………………………………………

Port of Liverpool Police

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.

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