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Marine unit moves to Sheerness

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New police marine unit
opens in Sheerness

Kent Police's Marine Unit has a new base - and this time it's
near water!

After years of being based miles from any shoreline, Chief
Constable of Kent Ian Learmonth welcomed the move to its new
"ideal" location at Sheerness Docks.

He raised the blue ensign flag on the unit's flagpole to
officially open the base at the Port of Sheerness today.

The unit was previously based at Coldharbour near Maidstone,
with the rest of the force's tactical operations, and Mr Learmonth
said it had long been an ambition to move to the waterfront.

It means the nine staff who have come from Coldharbour will
spend less time travelling and more time patrolling - they aim
to spend around 18 hours, seven days a week out and about.

The unit consists of three boats, including the largest -
the Princess Alexandra III - which is a 54ft 34 tonne prototype
lifeboat to be used as a mobile police station and a command
platform for marine operations.

The Seahorse, a 24ft rigid hull inflatable, is used for
intercept work and for boarding other vessels and the Invicta, a
30ft twin diesel boat which is leased from the Met Police and has a
bigger carrying capacity than the Seahorse.

As well as engaging in counter-terrorism work, checking security
of waterside commercial sites and tackling serious and organised
crime around the waters of Kent, it will also mean the marine
officers will work with the Island Neighbourhood Team to tackle
Sheppey's problems.

The unit will also be assisting the Met Police with the security
for the London 2012 Olympics.

Insp Steve Seabrook said in what is a UK first, they hope to
soon recruit a small team of marine special constables who will be
based at the docks.

They will be largely land-based but will work closely with the
marine community to create profiles of specific areas on Sheppey
and find out how they can best tackle marine crime.

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