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Dorset launches bespoke design patrol boat with specialist equipment

Drug runners and people smugglers are on the target list for marine officers who now have a high-tech patrol boat.

A new police boat will patrol one of the busiest stretches of water on the UK coastline.

The boat, named Buccaneer, is a specially-commissioned 11m rigid inflatable boat that will be used by the Force Support Group – a small team of specially trained marine police officers to patrol Dorset’s 98 miles of coastline. 

The £240,000 vessel weighs 5.5 tons and can travel up to 200 miles with a top speed of 50 knots. It can carry up to eight people with the capability to be out in all weathers, day or night.

The crew will work with partners including Border Force, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, HM Coastguard, Royal Navy, RNLI, Marine Management Organisation and the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. 

The craft was ordered after a three-year design and development programme including a competitive tendering process.

The high specification is needed because the force’s Marine Section has a responsibility for policing some of the busiest sea lanes around the UK’s coastline. The force has to cover 89 miles to a territorial limit of 12 nautical miles.

This includes the popular Weymouth and Christchurch Harbours, the small fishing ports of West Bay, Lyme Regis and Swanage, and the world's second largest natural harbour at Poole, which itself has over 100 miles of coastline.

It is also the Maritime and Coastguards Agency's (MCA) busiest area for search and rescue incidents and the Poole lifeboat is the most tasked lifeboat in the country. One of its roles is locating people in the sea who may have died.

Chief Constable James Vaughan, said: “Buccaneer represents a significant investment by Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, enhancing our specialist capabilities in policing our coastal waters and marine communities.”

The new capability will help the force meet changing demands: “The boat is three years in the making to get to launch; from design requirements, building, sea trials and finally unveiling the new specialist equipment. It includes brand new features and the latest marine navigation technology and search and rescue equipment.

“This will greatly enhance the service we’re able to provide to our marine communities and I would like to thank all those involved for making it happen.”

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