The Kent and Essex Police Marine Unit patrols the county’s
waterways 365 days a year come rain or shine.
But as unpredictable as the weather is what the team, based at
Burnham on Crouch, could be called to deal with on any given
As operational police officers, the crew have to be
prepared to deal with any number of eventualities along the
county’s 350 mile coastline.
The marine unit deals with the same crimes the regular police
officer on land deals with from thefts to violence incidents.
The crew, which includes eight Pcs, one Dc and two PCSOs, could
find themselves called upon to search for missing people, tow a
wartime bomb to safety, assist with a rescue at sea or police a big
The team also work closely with the UK Border Agency to stop
cigarette, drug and people smugglers in their tracks and regularly
patrol the River Thames in anti-terror operations. The river sees
the passage of 22,000 shipping movements every year.
To help the unit combat crime on the county’s waterways, they
have an impressive fleet at their disposal including two 24 foot
inflatable boats (RHIBS) capable of speeds up to 70 miles per hour,
a 22ft RHIB and a patrol Launch Alert IV.
The Alert, the largest of the unit’s fleet, has specialist
search and rescue equipment on board and is an all weather vessel
able to command and control any waterborne incident.
The latest additions to the fleet are two jet skis, known as
personal water craft. As well as helping officers move along the
water quickly, they allow them to get into shallow water to help
catch people speeding and are safe to use around swimmers in busy
But life on the water isn’t without its challenges. The marine
unit can be called upon to help recover bodies and investigate
fatal crashes on the water, something which never gets easier for
the officers involved.