Police have launched a new initiative to stop crime on the Thames.

Marine Watch aims to encourage maritime communities to form watch groups to tackle antisocial behaviour and to register boats to put off thieves and make items identifiable.

At the launch of the initiative at Teddington Lock on Monday, June 10, Stuart Jenkins, police Sergeant in the Marine Policing Unit, said crime near waterways was generally low but there were seasonal spikes.

He said: “In the summer months we see an increase in people coming to the river and to the canals and that sometimes attracts antisocial behaviour.

“The idea behind this is we can utilise members of the river community to be additional eyes and ears and report suspicious sightings to us.”

Malcolm O’Connor of Hampton Sailing Club said property and boat parts could be vulnerable to thieves.

He said: “I think this is a brilliant initiative on behalf of the police and we’re keen to sign up and get all of our boats on the system. I think it will pay dividends in the end.”

Those who sign up to Marine Watch will get quarterly newsletters, crime prevention advice, property marking sessions, window stickers and key rings.

Nick McKie-Smith, waterways enforcement manager for the Environment Agency, said the initiative would be a quick success.

He said: “We fully support the scheme and welcome it to the river and we encourage every registered boat user to sign up.”