The Queensland Police Service has introduced a new patrol ship to its fleet, named in honour of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding who was fatally shot while responding to an armed hold up on the Gold Coast in 2011.
The 24 metre catamaran was unveiled on Wednesday in a touching ceremony attended by Police Minister Bill Byrne, Commissioner of Police Ian Stewart and family and friends of Mr Leeding.
The Damian Leeding will replace the current Queensland Police Vessel based at the Whitsundays and will be capable of serving as an incident control and communication centre and a search and rescue ship.
The vessel, essentially a mobile police station, is the third and final acquisition of three new generation police catamarans constructed to meet the changing needs of policing a vast, decentralised and largely coastal State, police said.
Commissioner Stewart said Detective Senior Constable Leeding was committed to serving his community, ensuring the safety and security of all.
“The same parallel could be drawn to this new vessel that will proudly bear his name and help us protect and serve the people of Queensland,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“Today is a bittersweet occasion for the Queensland Police Service and Damian’s family and friends.
“We honour the ultimate sacrifice Damian made and pay special tribute to his legacy through the naming of this vessel.”
Detective Senior Constable Leeding was shot while responding to armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011.
He died three days later in hospital and was posthumously awarded the Queensland Police Services medals for valour and diligent and ethical service.
Wednesday fortnight, 1 June, will mark the fifth anniversary of his death.
Minister for Police Bill Byrne said he was honoured to be at the naming ceremony, honouring Mr Leeding and his family.
“Mr Leeding gave the ultimate sacrifice, he lost his life while working to keep our communities safe,” Mr Byrne said.
“I am sure I speak on behalf of not only the Premier and the Queensland Government but for all Queenslanders – we are forever grateful of the work Mr Leeding and all police men and women do each day.
“The Palaszczuk Government has a strong commitment to keep Queenslanders safe and we are proud to be delivering this new police vessel to help aid in that.
“The primary role of this new vessel is to improve the present and future operational capabilities of the Queensland Water Police.”