ESSEX Police is celebrating the work of its marine unit which covers 365 miles of coastline.

The marine unit, based in Burnham-on-Crouch, consists of six police officers, two special constables and a number of operational vessels, including a 42ft launch Alert IV and Sentinel, a 24ft rigid inflatable boat or RIB.

Alert IV is 25 years old and is the force's longest-serving police vehicle.

The officers cover 365 miles of coastline, one of the longest in the UK, and carry out high-visibility patrols along its entire length.

They are all licensed search officers and assist the Police Search Advisor, or PolSA, with inland and coastal water searches when required.

The unit launched in 1949 with the purchase of its first vessel, Vigilant, a wooden launch with a cabin and a radio.

In those days, the team only patrolled the River Thames.

Today, officers use high-speed RIBs, capable of 50 knots, and small, inflatable dinghies.

And they no longer rely solely on paper charts for navigation – they now have marine chart plotters, radar capability and night vision equipment.

In good conditions, the team can reach any part of the Essex coastline in an hour.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "As part of Essex 2020's celebration of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM), we will be showcasing the abilities of our many teams.

"Today's video features our marine unit, which is based in Burnham-on-Crouch."

Essex 2020 is a year-long, countywide celebration that highlights the county’s enterprising past while inspiring a future for science and creativity in Essex.

To find out more about the marine unit visit or