Reserves train with Marine Unit ready for Olympics
During the Olympics, the Kent and Essex Police Marine Unit will
be working around the clock to keep the county’s waterways
To help the team based at Burnham provide 24-hour cover, a
number of reserve officers have been trained to join the unit
during London 2012.
Twelve officers will be taking a break from their usual roles
around the county to help Marine Unit officers monitor traffic on
the River Thames and respond to emergencies on the waterways.
Since the beginning of the year the reserves have been learning
sea survival skills, navigational theory and what it takes to helm
one of the unit’s three inflatable RHIBS capable of speeds up to 70
miles per hour.
The officers have come from very different backgrounds. Some
like Ds Tim Marshall, a volunteer with the Royal National Lifeboat
Institution, are used to life on the water while for others, like
Southminster based Pc Shelley Adam, it’s a completely new
She said: “I didn’t have any experience before I started my
training as a reserve but I’ve always wanted to be on the Marine
Unit so I’m looking forward to playing a part during the
Ds Marshall has been a member of crew with the RNLI at Mersea
for 15 years. For him being a reserve with the marine unit is the
perfect way to combine an outside interest with work.
As part of their training the reserves have completed a Royal
Yachting Association Powerboat course and learned what to do in an
emergency if one of the craft should capsize. They’ve also
experienced being winched 30 feet on board an RAF Sea King
From June onwards the Marine Unit will be working in
collaboration with the Port of London Authority to check all of the
vessels travelling on the Thames during the Olympics have
permission to do so.
As well as taking on extra responsibilities during London 2012,
the team has to be prepared to deal with any number of
eventualities along Essex’s 350 mile coastline.
The marine unit deals with the same crimes as the regular
land-based officer on land deals with from thefts to violent
The crew could find themselves called upon to search for missing
people, assist with a sea rescue or tow a wartime bomb to
The team also works with the UK Border Agency to stop cigarette
drug and people smugglers and regularly patrols the Thames in
As well as the RHIBs, the unit is home to a Launch Alert IV, an
all weather vessel with specialist search and rescue equipment that
can command and control any waterborne incident, and two jet skis.
As well as helping officers move along the water quickly, they
allow them to get into shallow water and are safe to use around
swimmers in busy tourist spots.