New Zealand Police has two specialist Police Maritime Units - one in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city and the other in the capital city of Wellington. The Auckland Police Maritime Unit operational area covers nearly 200 islands including Great Barrier, and Waiheke as well as the Firth of Thames and associated harbours and inlets. The unit operates the 14.7m launch Deodar II, three 12 metre Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and a 3.8m inflatable dinghy, Red Knight. The Wellington Police Maritime Unit operational area for the unit is a 90 nautical miles radius from the entrance of Wellington Harbour. This encompasses the Marlborough Sounds, Wairarapa Coastline, Kapiti Coast, Tasman Bay, Wanganui, Castle Point and Kaikoura. Most of the tasks, however, are within Wellington Harbour and Cook Strait.
Police National Dive Squad
The Police National Dive Squad is based in Wellington, but responds to requests for assistance from all over New Zealand. Around two to six divers are called to each job which can last from several hours to several days. The squad spends most of its time on evidential searches. Sometimes these searches involve technically difficult underwater video work which is later used as evidence. The squad often videos bodies in the sea or river to give doctors at autopsies an accurate view of how the body was found. Videos also enable the officer in charge of a case to see exactly what the diver sees before anything is brought to the surface. In the last year, the squad recovered five bodies and participated in about 50 evidential searches. The squad focuses on recovery and not rescue. It has only rescued one person in 30 years. The squad has limited places and is filled from existing police officers. The work is often not much fun as it can involve locating bodies. However, the team finds the job rewarding, especially when they locate someone's loved ones. Dive squad members have regular police duties in addition to their dive work and training.