OVER the course of the last 12 months in Dorset the police’s support group has been deployed 70 times to water, a freedom of information (FOI) request by the Daily Echo has revealed.

Dorset Police’s Force Support Group operates two vessels which patrol the coastline and inland waterways responding to a variety of incidents.

Sergeant Jon Waddell, of Dorset Police’s Force Support Group, said: “Both Dorset Police vessels Buccaneer and Alarm form part of the Force Support Group and are deployed in a maritime environment in order to achieve Dorset Police’s aim to make its residents and visitors feel safe.

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“The individuals that operate them are all highly experienced and skilled frontline officers.

“Tasks range from search and recovery to attendance at high profile public events and patrolling to ensure Dorset’s marine community and coastal waters remain safe.

"Officers are also deployed to incidents that occur on or near inland waterways. By way of a recent example, both vessels were deployed to the aftermath of the plane crash at the Bournemouth Air Festival.”

The FOI request also asked for the number of arrests made by the marine team, but Dorset Police did not provide this because ‘disclosure could undermine any local operations that may be or will be taking place’.

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Sergeant Waddell added: “The unit works closely with the marine policing team in order to address marine crime and antisocial behaviour on the water.

“We would take this opportunity to encourage people to report any anti-social behaviour or suspicious activity on the water, no matter how small.”

Sergeant Waddell said that anyone with any information should contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101.