Essex Police is one of the United Kingdom's largest non-metropolitan police forces with a strength of approximately 3,600 police officers.
Its headquarters, the Force Information Room (where emergency calls are routed to) and Essex Police College, are all located in Chelmsford, within the Central Division.
Strategically, Essex is an important force. Bordering London, the force area consists of affluent city suburbs, large urban areas, industrial centres, rural villages, London Stansted Airport (one of the busiest international airports in the country) and two of the UK's major ports (Harwich and Tilbury). The force also polices one of the largest expanses of coastline of any force in the UK. The police area covers 1,400 square miles (3,600 km2) and has a population of around 1,600,000.
The Chief Constable is Jim Barker-McCardle, who replaced Roger Baker in September 2009.
The force has been a regular innovator and is often used by the Home Office to trial new procedures and equipment, including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), Lantern (handheld wireless fingerprint verification) and the X26 Taser.
Essex Police was also the subject of the television series Police Interceptors, which followed the work of the specialist Mobile Support Division's ANPR intercept unit that utilise high-performance pursuit vehicles, including the Mitsubishi Evo X and Subaru Impreza, to pursue and intercept mobile criminals.
The force comprises five territorial policing (TP) divisions; South West, South East, Central, Eastern and Western, but also has a number of specialist divisions including Stansted Airport, Mobile Support Division (encompassing firearms, dog handling, air and marine support units), Crime Division and the Serious Organised Crime Division (SOCD).
Aside from territorial policing the force also has a number of specialist uniform units. The majority of these are part of the Mobile Support Division.
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