Deo­dar III an im­pres­sive sight

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Ni­cola Wil­liams

A new po­lice boat is leav­ing a huge im­pact in its wake.

Deo­dar III has be­come an as­set to wa­ter users and po­lice since ar­riv­ing just be­fore Christ­mas at its berth at the Auck­land mar­itime po­lice head­quar­ters.

The 18 sworn po­lice staff who pro­vide a 24-hour re­sponse are en­thu­si­as­tic that it will make their work even more ef­fec­tive.

The New Zealand-made boat is world class and its staff, who have a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence from work­ing on the pre­vi­ous po­lice boats, had in­put into its fea­tures and de­sign.

Most of the unit’s time is spent on crime and dis­or­der, pub­lic events, body re­cov­ery, lo­gis­ti­cal or op­er­a­tional sup­port and search and res­cue.

Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent for the po­lice who like to say they have a “very fluid work en­vi­ron­ment”.

Val­ued at just un­der $3 mil­lion, Deo­dar III is 18.5 me­tres long, has a top speed of 44 knots and an av­er­age cruise speed of about 27 to 30 knots.

It has two jet units which make the boat very ma­noeu­vrable, ca­pa­ble of stop­ping quickly and able to move side­ways.

The mar­itime unit’s op­er­a­tional area cov­ers about 3704 square kilo­me­tres, in­clud­ing the greater Hau­raki Gulf, home to some 100,000 ves­sels.

It has a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Cus­toms, the Fish­eries Min­istry and the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil, and trans­ports po­lice staff as well as pris­on­ers to or from some of the is­lands.

Staff can use other agen­cies’ re­sources and knowl­edge to achieve im­proved border se­cu­rity.

The tech­nol­ogy on board is all from New Zealand, not be­cause it is New Zealand­made but be­cause it is the best, says of­fi­cer-in-charge se­nior sergeant Martin Paget.

“We have world-class com­pa­nies here.”

He has been work­ing on the De­o­dars for 25 years and a lot can be cred­ited to his hard work and many trips to Wan­ganui while it was un­der con­struc­tion, say his col­leagues.

“When we went look­ing for a ves­sel we looked far and wide in­clud­ing the United States and Aus­tralia,” says Mr Paget.

It is hard to get a job with the boat’s elite squad be­cause there is lit­tle staff move­ment with staff re­ten­tion any em­ployer would be happy with.

A big fac­tor of stay­ing in the job is that “I get to drive a mil­lion dol­lar boat for free”, says con­sta­ble Murray Ver­coe.

Most peo­ple they deal with are grate­ful, a change from his pre­vi­ous polic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Glen Innes where the re­ac­tion was of­ten the op­po­site, says Mr Ver­coe.

It is a less con­fronta­tional job, they say.

One el­e­ment of the job is body re­cov­ery, where teams of divers are trans­ported by the po­lice boat.

The first po­lice of­fi­cer to take to the wa­ter in the 1900s didn’t have a ra­dio on his boat so he used hom­ing pi­geons to com­mu­ni­cate with his wife.

The 1960s saw the first pur­pose-built po­lice boat, and tech­nol­ogy has come along in leaps and bounds since.

“Ev­ery­thing a car does on a street we do on wa­ter,” says con­sta­ble Dave Tur­ley.

There is no short­age of bet­ter work sto­ries.

Pris­on­ers are shack­led to the boat to pre­vent them jump­ing off, women in labour are some­times trans­ported from Wai­heke Is­land to Auck­land, some not last­ing the dis­tance.

One wo­man who de­liv­ered her baby on the boat named her child Deo­dar.

When there is an arms-re­lated crime on Wai­heke Is­land they take the armed of­fend­ers squad to the scene.

No­to­ri­ously change­able Auck­land weather means the morn­ing can start off as a boat­ies’ dream day and by the af­ter­noon has de­te­ri­o­rated see­ing lots of boats in trou­ble.

“Some days it’s pan­de­mo­nium,” says Mr Ver­coe.

Pho­tos: FIONA GOODALL

Ex­pertly de­signed: The dinghy is ready for launch.

Quick mover: The Deo­dar III car­ries out a wide range of du­ties.

Fully equipped: The boat can be away for pe­ri­ods of seven days with gal­ley and beds for eight peo­ple.

Wa­ter rats: The new boat leaves Ran­gi­toto in its wake.

In con­trol: Con­sta­ble Dave Tur­ley, left, and Murray Ver­coe en­joy mar­itime polic­ing.

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