Thirty years ago the Port Louis Harbour was considered as the most underdeveloped part of the region, dealing mainly with the handling of sea freight cargoes and maritime passengers. During that period the arrival and departure of the French Naval Vessels “Labourdonais, Pierre Loti, Ruys and Ferdinand de Leseps and others were the major attractions in the Harbour. Passengers were transited through the Landing Steps of the Customs, which was the main sea entry point. At that time there existed only the harbour Police and a Post at Quay D for all operations. However, the Port has since undergone major changes. It now stands on a total surface of 300 acres of land, mostly reclaimed through dredging operations.
Today, besides the handling of sea-freight cargoes through the Mauritius Container Terminal and other modernized spots on the Quays, the disembarking of liquid, petroleum, gas, fuel, rice, and flour, the related activities. Some 52 enterprises are operating in the Port Area. Daily, some 3000-3200 persons call at the Port for various activities.
Furthermore, with the implementation on the Harbour site of the Caudan and Port Louis Waterfronts, The Hotels hosting international conferences/workshops/seminars, the Casino the tourist’s shops and resorts and ,the Cinema Hall, the workload of the Police has increased to a very large extent in the Port.
The Mauritius Sugar Terminal at Les Salines is another strategic point for our national economy which demands a high Policing vigilance.
The Mauritius Port Authority will soon erect a gate near the free Port of Mauritius round about together with a police to control areas to the port from the north.
Policing in Harbour
The Port Police comprises the Harbour Police and the Bulk Sugar Terminal Police. It is under the command of a Superintendent of Police who is responsible for :-
- Maintenance of law and order, the prevention and detection of offences in the Port Area;
- Security of cargo and properties of the Mauritius Ports Authority and the Mauritius Sugar Terminal Corporation;
- Enforcement of laws relating to Harbour Regulations, Customs, Merchant Shipping, Quarantine, Maritime Zone, Immigration, Ports Act and the Dangerous Drugs Act;
- Control & regulation of vehicular traffic at the various gates of the Port Area and the Bulk Sugar Terminal;
Steps in cases of crimes committed on high seas reported to the Police;
- Liaison with other Areas/Branches of the Force on matters affecting Port security and safety;
- Control of passes issued by the Mauritius Port Authority;
- Maintaining patrols (foot and mobile patrols) to ensure the smooth operations in the Port Area
In case of Emergency, Port Police will:-
- Restrict access at every controls gates;
- Establish and man a traffic corridor for emergency services;
- Help for the evacuation of all persons within the perimeter of the incident, etc.
The Port Area being a restricted one, the main tasks of the Port Police personnel, apart from Police duties, are to perform sentry at various gates to ensure that persons entering the area are in possession of a valid access pass.
The opening of the Caudan and Port Louis Waterfronts has increased the load of policing on the Port Police for the following reasons: –
- Transactions of commercial activities involving huge sum of money at times;
- These places have become a tourist resort;
- Entertainment by the cinema halls;
- Amusement by the casino;
- The inhabitants of Port Louis and its surroundings use the esplanade as a place of leisure.