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Port of Dover Police
Badge of the Port of Dover Police.
Agency overview
Formed 1933
Employees 47 plus civilian support
Legal personality Non government: Privately funded police service
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Port area of Dover Harbour Board in the country of England, UK
Location of Port of Dover
Size 8 km2
Population Nil - (16 million passengers per year + port staff)
Legal jurisdiction Land & Property belonging to Dover Harbour Board and up to 1 mile from same
Governing body Dover Harbour Board
Constituting instrument Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Police Station, Eastern Docks, Dover. CT16 1JA.
Agency executive Steve Masters, Chief Superintendent (Chief Officer)
Stations 2
Boats 1
Force Web Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Port of Dover Police (PoDP) is a small non-Home Office police service which provides a 24 hour policing service to the Port of Dover, Kent, England.


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 of the same.[1]

In purely legal terms, as the DHB own significant areas of land on the sea front of Dover together with the one mile 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 radius of land owned by DHB that borders the sea.[2]

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).[2]

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.

Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PoDP and Kent Police sets out each organisation's responsibilities.[3] 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 2009, the Port of Dover Police had an establishment of one Chief Superintendent (Chief Officer), one Superintendant (Deputy Chief Officer), one Inspector, six Sergeants and thirty-eight Constables. The current Chief Officer is Chief Superintendent Steve Masters; the current Deputy Chief Officer is Superintendent Paul Wilczek.

Although the majority of officers perform uniformed patrol duties, the force also includes 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 and sees over 16 million passengers pass through it each year, combined with huge volumes of cars lorries and coaches making it the busiest ferry port in Europe. This ensures that Port of Dover Police officers are kept busy, and have a very high level of interaction with the public, unlike some other port police forces in the UK which although have police powers are primarily used in a security role. Officers of the force effect on average, over 600 arrests per year for a wide variety of offences ranging from drink driving to theft, from fraud to public order.

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.)

Port of Dover Police ranks
Rank Police
Sergeant Inspector Deputy Chief Officer
Chief Officer
(Chief Superintendent)
Insignia UK-police-01.PNG UK-police-02.PNG UK-police-03.PNG UK-police-05.PNG UK-police-06.PNG

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 cs 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 harbour area, but is also used to good effect in combating marine crime in the marina and inner harbour areas of the port. The RIB also provides assistance to small craft and has been ultilised in the recovery of property and bodies from the sea, the foreshore, and the inaccesable areas below the white cliffs that stretch east and west of the port.

External links




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