By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
THE port of Gladstone is about to get its own permanent police presence.
Police Minister Judy Spence has announced $365,000 will be spent establishing water police at the port.
Ms Spence said three police officers would staff the facility.
'Gladstone is in need of the facility as the area has experienced significant increases in the level of recreational boating, and marine-based commercial activities within the harbour,' Ms Spence said.
Ms Spence said the facility would operate out of the commercial premises at the marina.
The Central Queensland Ports Authority would provide office facilities and berths at a nominal rate for three years.
The water police would have two vessels and a 5.2 metre aluminium runabout.
"The largest vessel will be the 10-metre vessel DW Wrembeck, which was previously used by the Gold Coast water police,'' Ms Spence said.
'The vessel will undergo an $89,000 refit including new motors and will be equipped with a stretcher bay for patient retrievals.'
News of the new water police presence was welcomed by members of Volunteer Marine Rescue Gladstone.
VMR spokesman Jim Purcell said Gladstone had been in need of such a facility for a long time.
'We welcome the water police having a base in Gladstone,' he said. Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) marina superintendent Robbie Williams said they were delighted to be part of the establishment of the facility, after having encouraged the establisment of a base for some time.