The Royal Navy Police are to be given additional law enforcement powers as the transition period for Britain's departure from the European Union draws to a close.
The extra powers would come into effect on 7 January 2021 and will apply solely to the territorial waters of England and Wales.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has laid a Statutory Instrument in Parliament to introduce a regulation under the Policing and Crime Act 2017.
According to the MOD: "The Government is determined to ensure the security of UK waters from a range of threats under all circumstances."
Royal Navy personnel already routinely carry out enforcement activity in UK waters and the Royal Navy Police are trained to conduct a range of enforcement activities in line with civilian policing procedures.
The MOD said the Royal Navy Police will only use the new powers if requested by civilian forces, and military personnel will not independently take any decisions on the use of enforcement.
"Providing extra powers will give greater flexibility to authorities to act effectively," the MOD added.
The extension of enforcement powers to the Royal Navy Police will be reviewed in six months.
The UK's transition period with the EU ends on New Years Day.
Cover image: The English Channel and the White Cliffs of Dover (Picture: PA).