Volunteer police could be used to keep Hampshire’s marine unit going, says crime commissioner Michael Lane

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The crime commissioner Michael Lane has suggested volunteer police could take on a bigger role in the marine unit in a bid to keep it running.

Speaking at a Police and Crime Panel meeting in Winchester today, Mr Lane said he reiterated that he intervened to save the unit - including using special officers who have others jobs but volunteer as police.

Hampshire Police marine unit

Hampshire Police marine unit

It comes after there was a huge outcry from coastal groups when the marine unit’s funding was cut by government.

Further cutbacks were stopped by Mr Lane, he told the panel at its last meeting and today.

Mr Lane said there was a ‘professional review plan with the chief constable’ over the unit’s future.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t like to predict what they say.’

But he said: ‘We do need to maximise how we engage with other partners.

‘We might extend the specials or look at engagement with formed groups.’

He said he had no preconceived ideas but added: ‘I’m determined we don’t find ourselves without an option to sustain it.’

The cost of intervening to keep the unit is £557,000. It now serves just Hampshire, having previously served the coastline of three counties.