Hampshire police marine set to be disbanded by 2019

UPDATE: Hampshire police has issued an apology saying no decision is due to be made on disbanding the marine unit.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 4:41 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd January 2018, 7:07 pm
Hampshire police's marine unit

HAMPSHIRE police’s marine unit is set to be axed by next year.

The nine-strong team operates a £1.5m four-boat fleet in the Solent, with responsibilities for tackling terror.

Now it is set to be disbanded by 2019 in a bid to save cash.

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It comes as 160 police jobs are to go in a near-£7m cuts plan.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘We can confirm that an operational proposal is being put forward to the Police and Crime Panel that the marine unit be disbanded in 2019.’

When Home Office funding of £450,000-a-year was pulled from April last year, Hampshire Police and Crime Panel chairman David Stewart wrote to the UK’s then anti-terror police chief.

He said it was ‘essential that our local waters are protected by the marine policing unit’.

Officers in the unit cover a range of roles, from counter-terrorism to tackling drug smugglers and human trafficking as well as providing a platform for firearms officers to protect VIPs at major events in the Solent.

The £1m-a-year unit had been part-funded directly from Home Office anti-terror cash and from £550,000-a-year from the force’s grant money.

Sailors in the area have previously criticised a move to axe the unit. Plans have been on the cards since 2015.