Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner reappoints Essex Chief Constable for a further three years
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, has reappointed Ben-Julian (“BJ”) Harrington as the Chief Constable of Essex for a further three years to October 2026.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, said “The Chief Constable has made a significant difference for the people of Essex. Under his leadership Essex Police have reduced burglary, theft and anti-social behaviour, improved public confidence and invested in more visible neighbourhood policing.”
“The Chief Constable has led the force as it has faced and overcome a number of major challenges, including the impact of COVID-19 and the tragic death of 39 people in a container in Grays.
“As Essex Police has grown, to become the largest it has ever been in its 182-year history, the Chief Constable has be able to provide a stronger, more visible policing presence in communities. He has introduced new teams to tackle the priorities within the Police and Crime Plan, including Town Centre Teams, the Business Crime Team, Rural Crime Team and Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams.”
“The new Serious Violence Unit has been effective in tackling the organised criminals and county lines that fuel drug driven violence in our communities. Under his leadership, it has worked effectively with the Violence and Vulnerability Unit to protect young people and prevent them from being exploited by drug gangs.
Chief Constable, BJ Harrington said: “It’s a huge privilege to lead and work with so many brave, professional and dedicated officers, Police staff and volunteers. At Essex Police our focus is simple; we catch criminals, we protect people and we strive to keep our communities safe working with them and all of the public services in Essex. I’m committed to preventing crime and making Essex an even better, even safer place. I will continue to lead the force to the best of my ability and work with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst to make that happen.”
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable have agreed the following strategic ambitions.
- Continue the strategic shift of Essex Police towards the prevention of crime and harm.
- Continue to increase the volumes of high harm crime which are solved, such as violence with injury, rape and domestic burglary.
- Achieve and maintain Essex Police’s recruitment ambitions, building both the capacity and capability of the force.
- Continue to develop the prevention and diversion activities to reduce domestic abuse, drug driven violence, rape and serious sexual offending.
- Continue to build and develop public trust and confidence in Essex Police.
Mr Harrington took up post on 4th October 2018 on a five-year contract that is due to expire on the 3rd October 2023. The three-year extension will take effect from the 4th of October 2023 and run through to 3rd October 2026.
The Chief Constable has a successful and long-standing career of over 30 years in policing, with a proven operational and strategic background in both the Metropolitan Police Service and more recently Essex Police.
As well as local recognition the Chief Constable has also received national recognition for his contribution to policing and was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal (QPM) in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.
Since his appointment in 2018, the Chief Constable has continued to demonstrate his competence, clarity and visionary leadership capability and has delivered notable improvements for the people of Essex. Examples of his achievements in post include:
- Working with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, and through the Police and Crime Plan, to achieve a strategic shift in the focus of the force from response to prevention, including setting up key problem-solving teams.
- Leading the force through Operation Melrose, Essex Police’s investigation into the deaths of 39 people in a lorry container in Grays on 23 October 2019. This was one of the largest homicide investigations in British policing history, involving significant police and partner agency resources, and required evidence to be gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide. Essex Police supported the families of the victims and brought the perpetrators to justice wherever they were in the world, working closely with other law enforcement agencies.
- Providing leadership to the force and wider Essex partners through the COVID 19 pandemic, through his co-chairmanship of the Essex Resilience Forum (ERF).
- Leading the force through Operation Hazel, Essex Police’s operational response to the Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests that commenced on 1 April 2022. Albeit locally focused, the key strategic necessity to keep fuel supplies flowing through the wider south-east region saw a consummate and comprehensive police response to mitigate a national strategic threat.
- Leading the force to be judged “outstanding” by HMICFRS in its Crime Data Integrity Inspection on 8th October 2019, making Essex Police only the third force of the 39 inspected at that point in the programme to be judged “outstanding” on the first inspection. The inspectorate noted that the force had “substantially improved its crime recording accuracy” and that “Victims are at the forefront of its crime recording arrangements”.