THE latest member of Dorset Police has been welcomed into the fold - a new boat called Buccaneer.

Weighing in at five-and-a-half tonnes, the 11-metre rigid inflatable was unveiled at a launch event attended by top brass.

Buccaneer will be used to by the Force Support Group, a small team of specially-trained marine police officers.

With the capability to carry 600 litres of fuel and travel 200 miles on a full tank, it will be used to patrol Dorset's 98 miles of coastline.

Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan, whop attended the launch, 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 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.”

The vessel is capable of carrying eight people onboard and has a top speed of 50 knots.

It has the capability to be out in all weathers, day or night and will be used to tackle criminality on the water alongside Border Force, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, HM Coastguard, Royal Navy, RNLI, Marine Management Organisation and the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. It will also be used in search and rescue operations, as well as locating people in the sea who may have died.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill, who attended the launch alongside the chief constable, said: “I’m delighted to see Buccaneer in action – it’s a very impressive boat and is a much needed addition to the marine unit.

"I’m proud to have been able to help provide the funds for such an essential piece of equipment which will ensure that the marine unit are able to carry on protecting both our coast and our coastal communities."