When England kick off their World Cup campaign today, the Chief Superintendent of Essex Police will be supporting England as much as the next fan – but his shift might be made a little easier if Iran come out on top.

Simon Anslow has been in the force for 24 years, meaning this will be the 12th major tournament England have played in since he has been a serving officer.

In ten out of those 12 tournaments, England have failed to get past the quarter-final stages, which has meant policing across the county has, mercifully, been fairly run-of-the-mill.

But if there has been a downside to England’s upturn in form over the past four years, it has been that criminal damage, domestic violence, and drink driving all spiked during both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

It is no coincidence that, in both of these tournaments, England have at least made the final four.

Colchester’s Head Street was a scene to behold last summer after England’s 2-1 victory over Switzerland took them to their first major tournament final in 55 years, with hundreds of people lining the city centre in a bacchanal of heady celebration.

In fact, many had probably never seen the place so alive.

But when hundreds of people cram into public spaces, it means the potential for disorder rises – and so does the need for police resources.

Mr Anslow said: “We know from previous years the World Cup and European tournaments bring some real problems in Essex.

“Typically, we would have a summer tournament and we would see alcohol consumption, the potential for disorder, and the knock-on effects from hate crime and drink and drink driving.

“Being a winter world cup, it looks a bit different to us; instead of deploying large numbers of officers to public locations, we are setting ourselves up in an agile fashion to respond to multiple incidents at the same time.”

So, what will Essex Police be expecting should England, say, beat Brazil in the semis and set up a final against France?

For all the celebrations which would follow, Mr Anslow explained violence and disorder are likely to follow too – a fairly uninspiring prospect.

“What we will see is an increase in violence against the person, or what normal people would call assault and fights.

“What we know is on England match day we will get a spike in the reporting of those offences and more reports into the following day.

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“We know we see, around World Cup periods, increases in domestic abuse offences in isolation, and sexual abuse and controlling behaviour; that can be associated with alcohol consumption and the emotional experience of following England, win or lose.”

This prompts another question of the 45-year old superintendent – what is the preferred scenario after a game?

Is it a baying mob of angry fans after a shock defeat to the pre-tournament minnows? Or a crowd of jubilant hedonists after a thrashing of one of the game’s heavyweights?

Neither outcome is a welcome prospect for Essex Police officers, but the preference is still, even for England support police officers, a defeat.

“There’s no science to [the reaction after a game], but I do think there’s a prevailing pessimism at being an England fan.

“After a defeat, people think, ‘I thought it would happen’.”

“I was on patrol [during the Euros] and that was the general feeling amongst people; both can bring challenges, but winning can be more resource intensive than losing.”

Still, preparing for crowds descending onto the streets en-masse is still some challenge, and Mr Anslow explained the plan of action when it comes to handling the potential difficulties.

“Within Colchester, we will have additional resources from the local community policing teams – they will have been moved on to shifts to make sure those on duty are used to policing Colchester and dealing with the night time economy, and we will expect additional support from the special constabulary.

“The operational policing command should expect about 16 officers in the city centre in support of the local officers – that amounts to a pretty visible footprint that will keep people in check, celebrating and commiserating in a way that’s appropriate.”

Being a small city, Colchester's England fans won't be as tough to handle as in other parts of England but if people in Essex love their football, there will be an emotional reaction come what may.

“Places with bigger football clubs may have bigger challenges to face – it’s an oddity that something taking place thousands of miles away can result in disorder in place like Colchester, Southend, and Basildon.”

When the full-time whistle blows this afternoon in England’s opening World Cup game, England fans will be hoping for a win.

Police, perhaps, will be hoping for a 0-0 draw.