Pauline Rowson's Blog - Posts Tagged "marine-unit"

My fictional detective, DI Andy Horton, is based in the Solent area and the Horton marine mystery crime novels include members of a fictional Hampshire Police Marine Unit - Sergeant Dai Elkins and PC Ripley who are nothing like the two police officers I introduced on Saturday from the team of the Hampshire Marine Police Unit at the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Conference .

PCs Kerry Murray and Matt Gransden are younger and much better looking, although readers of the Horton novels might be aware that PC Ripley is only a little older than Matt. But the work my fictional marine unit are involved with in helping DI Horton of Portsmouth CID and Detective Superintendent Uckfield of the Major Crime Team isn't that far removed albeit fiction.

It was great to meet Kerry and Matt and to hear about their fascinating job. They gave me plenty of ideas not only for plots for future DI Horton crime novels but also for characters! Can't wait to get writing. It was a fantastic talk with lots of questions from the audience and I'm hugely grateful to Kerry and Matt for giving their time and to their boss for letting them especially when they are so busy. The Hampshire Police Marine Unit's area of responsibility stretches from Dorset to Sussex and out to 12 miles offshore.

I'm looking forward to meeting them again and spending the day with them on the Solent for further research for my crime novels. Must remember to pick a calm day though!

A Killing Coast

A Killing Coast by Pauline Rowson
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Published on April 23, 2012 04:36 • 49 views • Tags: author, cid, crime-novels, cwa, di-horton-series, hampshire-police, ideas, marine-mystery, marine-unit, pauline-rowson, plots, portsmouth, solent
I'm often asked how I research police procedures and police matters for my crime novels and while the DI Horton crime series certainly doesn't conform to policing in the real world there is an underlying reality about some of the situations and procedures.

So where do I get my research from?

From talking to real live police officers, those working on the coal face and those who have also retired and my thanks here to the officers in the CID, the Major Crime Unit and the Marine Unit of Hampshire Police.

From the Internet blogs and twitter feeds of serving police officers - a great source of a snapshot on the unofficial and real world of policing, warts and all, the gripes, heroics and the banter all make for great background

From the official websites of the police agencies, establishments and organisations, the intelligence services and the European police agencies

From my fellow members of the Crime Writers' Association, by reading articles in the CWA magazine and attending lectures

From online sources, magazines like The Investigator, websites run by specialists and organisations such as CEPOL (the European Police College)

And from newspaper articles and media feeds.

All this is combined to give me a flavour of how things work but of course they are constantly changing and I could never portray exactly how an investigation is handled or the real world of policing because then it would read like a police manual and it is after all fiction.
My fictional detective, DI Andy Horton, is based in Portsmouth and the Solent area on the South Coast of England. The Solent is the busiest waterway in Europe and one of the busiest in the world with around one million commercial and naval shipping movements and in excess of 10 million pleasure craft movements per year, so it's a brilliant area in which to set a series of crime novels, with plenty of inspiration and lots of activity.

The DI Horton marine mystery crime novels include members of a fictional Hampshire Police Marine Unit - Sergeant Dai Elkins and PC Rilpey - who take Horton and members of the Major Crime Team across the Solent from Portsmouth (where Horton is based in CID) to the Isle of Wight to solve crimes there and get on the track of villains.

I was fortunate to meet some real officers from the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit at the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Conference in Southampton on 21 April. The real unit as opposed to my fictional marine police unit consists of one Sergeant and nine PCs. But the work my fictional marine unit are involved in isn't that far removed from the real thing.

Hampshire's history of maritime policing dates back to 1873 when it used a rowing boat to combat crime around the docks. Things have come a long way since then. It has recently invested in a new modern fleet to police the coastline stretching from Dorset to Sussex and out to 12 miles offshore. The fleet includes a 12-metre catamaran with sonar, CCTV, thermal imaging cameras and the latest in satellite communications; a general purpose patrol launch, which has a body recovery platform, and two 8m rigid inflatable boats, which can reach speeds of up to 55 mph on the water. I've been promised a trip on one of these but I think I'll wait for a calm, sunny and warm day!

The role of the marine unit includes counter terrorism patrols, the reduction and detection of marine crime, investigation of marine incidents and fatalities, policing large events, supporting the UK Border Agency, Coastguard, and Harbour Authorities and responsibility for countering serious and organised crime and preventing child abduction.

Plenty there to give me ideas for crime novels.

Death Lies Beneath

Death Lies Beneath by Pauline Rowson