Hampshire police invest £1.2m in new marine fleet

Hampshire Constabulary has invested £1.2m in four new boats to replace ageing vessels in its Marine Unit.

The force's current launches are being gradually decommissioned and sold off to help pay for the new boats.

A Lochin 366 launch, a catamaran and two 7.5m (24ft) rigid inflatables will go into service in the summer around the Solent area.

Det Insp Dave Jackson said: "The investment is of course significant but the return is invaluable."

Replacement 'economical'

He added: "Our three launches were commissioned in 2001 and had a workable life of about 10 years before we'd need to start investing in terms of repairs.

"Mariner V will soon need its engine replaced so it will be a lot more economical to replace the vessels and ensure effective maritime policing resources until 2022 than fork out to keep fixing the existing craft at great expense until they deteriorate beyond repair."

The new boats will be paid for by a central government grant of £500,000, with the constabulary paying the rest from its own budget.

In Dorset the police are undertaking a review of it marine policing capability.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Glanville said: "This review is set against a backdrop of a significant reduction to the annual Dorset Police budget - which requires savings of £18 million from an annual budget of £120 million by 31 March 2014."

Although he said there would be no significant changes until after the 2012 Olympic security operation.

Sussex Police does not have a specific marine unit although its Specialist Search Unit does have two rigid inflatable boats.

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