The news comes after the Police and Crime Commissioner tasked a review of the unit. This review, carried out by the constabulary, looked at the unit’s operational effectiveness and the value for money it provides.
The unit will see its current staffing levels maintained, with some changes made to the fleet to both sustain current coastal activity and improve inland water policing capabilities.
It has been confirmed that 2 of the unit’s larger vessels – thought to be ‘Commander’ and ‘Preventer’ – will be sold as they no longer meet the force’s operational needs. In 2012, £1.2million was spent on purchasing 4 new vessels.
Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton has said:
“This is really good news operationally. The changes we are making will ensure that we deliver a more flexible and focused service.
“The marine unit will continue to support neighbourhood policing on the water and carry out intelligence-led patrols to tackle serious and organised crime.
“We will improve our inland water capability and enhance our work with marine Specials and other volunteers. We will place a greater focus on our partnership with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Ministry of Defence Police and other emergency services. This will create a more efficient and resilient water search and recovery capability.
“As well as enhancing our marine unit, we will be saving money that can be spent on other operational priorities. This will be achieved by the sale of two large vessels that no longer meet our operational needs, as they are more suited to spending extended time at sea. We will instead buy a new craft with improved inland capabilities – better able to carry out searches of rivers, lakes and mud to help us locate missing people and evidence from crimes.”
Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
“I believe the marine unit is valuable to policing, our partners and the marine community.
“Despite the challenges with police funding and resourcing, I have insisted on the marine unit being protected and I am pleased that Hampshire Constabulary’s review has identified a solution with our partners which will sustain a marine capability that also provides improved policing capabilities inland. This provides an ongoing policing focus on keeping our waterborne communities safer.
“I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account and engage with these communities to ensure this capability continues to provide operational effectiveness into the future.”
Do you follow Island Echo on Facebook?
Get access to exclusive news, photos, videos and merchandise by becoming a supporter through Facebook Subscriptions! Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/becomesupporter/309220432954/