As part of a wider programme of investment in water safety, Belfast Harbour Police has welcomed the arrival of its first fully equipped Police boat which will improve water safety along Belfast’s popular waterfront.
In supporting Belfast Harbour’s ambition to be a safe and attractive place for everyone, this investment will assist with the policing of the waterways within Belfast Harbour, focusing on public access quays and areas popular with visitors. The more visible presence of Belfast Harbour Police on the water, as well as on land, will help improve water safety and crime prevention.
The boat, manufactured by Redbay Boats in Cushendall, will also support Belfast Harbour Police’s joint operations with Lagan Search and Rescue, PSNI and Border Force.
Launched this week, the ‘Bowstead’, named after John Bowstead, the first Constable appointed to police the quays in Belfast in 1824, will be crewed by fully trained Belfast Harbour Police Officers.
This announcement is the latest in a series of investments by Belfast Harbour in water safety enhancements including in CCTV, with improved detection capability of potential immersion incidents, and water safety equipment and officer training. This package of measures has already delivered a notable fall in the number of immersion incidents in the waters around Belfast Harbour in the last year.
This ‘safety first’ focus has helped Belfast Harbour Police, along with partners such as Lagan Search and Rescue, reduce the percentage of water safety threats which escalated to full immersion incidents from 70% in 2019 to 24% in 2020.
David Dobbin, Chairman of Belfast Harbour, said; “I am delighted to announce the provision of this, our first fully equipped Police Boat, which will enhance our water safety measures and emergency response times.”
“Ensuring that Belfast Harbour Police deliver the highest standards of safety and community policing is a core priority for us, as we work to create an Iconic Waterfront for the City. I am encouraged that our focus on water safety is already helping to reduce immersion incidents thereby saving lives.”
Belfast Harbour Police Chief Officer, Michael Daly commented on the force’s focus on water safety; “It is our goal to help ensure that Belfast Harbour is an attractive and safe place to live, work and visit. By providing this new Police boat and investing in water safety training for our Officers, we are ensuring that Belfast Harbour is a safe and welcoming Port for Everyone”.