Devonport’s Police Maritime Unit role at Naval Base

From patrolling the River Tamar and surrounding seas for anything suspicious, to escorting warships into Devonport Naval Base and suicide prevention, the working days of an Officer of the MOD Police Maritime Unit are as far from a desk job as any.

A day in the life of a Police Maritime Officer begins at 5.30 in the morning when they arrive on base, and get kitted up with protective vests, radios and for some the Heckler & Koch MP7 assault rifle, taser and pepper spray.

After this they brief before three officers then change over with the current patrol team on their triple manned Police Launch - changing periodically between the four main patrol areas; the seawall, a static in Plymouth Sound, beyond the Tamar Bridge and a relieving vessel.

The officers and patrols run 24/7, 365 days a year and are always on call for any emergencies.

We help as a deterrent and protection of the Base from the waters around Devonport.

Inspector Luke Halls

The team has use of three Pacific 24 Ribs and five 15 metre Launches – that are to be replaced within the next two years.

The new launches will have ballistic protection and come with all new state of the art technology such as new radar, radios and navigation plotters.

One of the main problems faced by the team on patrol are jet skiers showing off and speeding or getting too close to the many warships and vessels using the Port and Devonport Naval Base.

This can cause big problems especially if they are in the way of ships trying to manoeuvre in Plymouth Sound.

Another unfortunate problem faced by the Unit is people taking their lives in their patrol areas or around the harbour.

Escorting naval vessels into Devonport and putting up a police cordon around these vessels helps keep other boats away and allows clear navigation.

On the river they are also looking for more serious problems such as criminal acts as well as information received about suspicious vessels.

“I believe we provide a good service to the Royal Navy,” said Inspector Luke Halls, MOD Maritime Police Unit.

“We help as a deterrent and protection of the Base from the waters around Devonport.

“Our unit also deploy Officers around the country, looking after the Ships in those areas, in fact we currently have two Officers up in Scotland helping the maritime units based there.”

Overall the Devonport Police Maritime Unit provides a vital service to both the Royal Navy and the City of Plymouth and are the sole Police Force on the river.

Their constant vigilance and careful eye for detail serve both as a deterrent to hostiles on the water and a protection for the Naval Base, as well as individuals and vessels inside and around Plymouth Sound.