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Hampshire Constabulary’s Marine Unit has officially launched its new £1.5m marine fleet with a naming ceremony and blessing of the new boats.
Sergeant Tony Birr from the Marine Unit said:
“Our new boats will give us an up to date, fit for purpose fleet which will serve us well in helping to keep the waters around Hampshire safe for many years to come and we’re proud to be officially launching the fleet.”
The guest of honour at the event was the first man to sail non-stop singlehandedly around the world, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The boats were blessed by the force Chaplin David Wilbraham.
The event was also attended by senior officers including Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde. He said:
"Hampshire Constabulary has a long history of maritime policing going back to 1873.
"The new fleet will future proof our marine capability for the next twenty years, allowing the marine unit to protect and support the interests of both the business and leisure maritime communities.
"The Marine Unit provide a visible presence on one of the busiest stretches of water in Europe for cruise ship movement and leisure craft.
"As on land, a highly visible presence equipped with a state of the art marine capability will contribute significantly to the prevention of crime and deter acts of terrorism".
The boats have recently been on display at the PSP Southampton Boat show and a competition was run for primary school children to give them an exclusive private tour of the new boats for their class on the morning prior to the official naming ceremony.
The competition was won by Foxhills Junior School in Colbury, near Totton and a class of year six children (Aged 10 and 11) attended the Royal Southampton Yacht Club where the ceremony took place.
There are four boats in the new fleet: Commander which is the largest and is a 12 metre catamaran, the patrol launch Preventer and two Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBS) Pursuer and protector.
They will begin patrolling the waters off Hampshire and the Isle of Wight immediately.