Essex Police officers recognised with New Year Honours
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PC Dawn Wood, Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington and DCI Danny Stoten
Three Essex Police officers have been recognised for their outstanding work in the New Year Honours list.
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington and Detective Chief Inspector Danny Stoten receive Queen’s Policing Medals, with a British Empire Medal for Police Constable Dawn Wood.
DCI Stoten led the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese men, women and children found in a lorry in Grays.
Eight men were convicted after a Europe-wide investigation involving officers from the UK, France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. The investigation was awarded ‘Senior Investigating Officer Team of the Year’ by the National Police Chiefs’ Council Homicide working group, and was the subject of the recent BBC documentary Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers.
DCI Stoten served as the Senior Investigating Officer on a number of other high-profile cases including the murder of Courtney Valentine-Brown that featured in the BBC television series Murder 24/7, the murder of 19-year-old Fabian Kacica in Southend, and the tragic death of Summer Grant on a bouncy castle in Harlow.
A keen boxer, DCI Stoten has also run a programme to help deter young people from joining gangs through the sport, and his charity boxing events have raised more than £160,000 for disabled children.
He said: “To get this recognition at the end of my career is an absolute honour. I’m humbled by it. The quality of work that my team put into murder investigations led to a conviction rate just short of 100% when we got to court, which shows how right we get it.
“I’ve dealt with tragic deaths, the motivation is always to achieve justice for the victim’s families and you want to make the people who committed horrendous crimes face justice as well. It’s an honour to be given the responsibility to investigate those crimes.”
DCI Danny Stoten during the filming of Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers
Marine Unit Police Constable Dawn Wood is best known for completing a solo row of the Atlantic to highlight the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.
PC Wood has built relationships between the police and the marine community along the Essex coast, and is highly respected for her conservation work and incredible achievements as an endurance athlete.
She recorded the second-fastest time by a woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in February 2019 when she completed the 3,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands to Barbados in 53 days, battling raging seas and howling winds to raise more than £20,000. She was named fundraiser of the year by the Marine Conservation Society.
PC Wood has visited more than 50 schools and community groups to share her inspirational story and promote conservation and awareness of plastic pollution, and in 2023 plans to complete another incredible charity feat as part of a four-woman team rowing the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Hawaii.
PC Wood said: “I had to read the letter three or four times, I couldn’t believe it. I thought (the medal) would just be for the solo row but to be recognised for the work that I’ve done in maritime policing is just unbelievable. I’m not normally lost for words, but I was this time.”
PC Dawn Wood on patrol in Burnham-on-Crouch
The Chief Constable of Essex, Ben-Julian Harrington, has also been awarded a Queen’s Policing Medal.
As Co-Chair of the Essex Resilience Forum, Chief Constable Harrington has been instrumental in coordinating the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing together senior colleagues from organisations from across Greater Essex to work together during a time of unprecedented demand on public services and to make sure that everyone who needed help received it.
Chief Constable Harrington joined Essex Police in 2017 after 27 years of service with the Metropolitan Police Service. During his time with the Met, he worked on the policing of the Notting Hill Carnival, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and was a Gold Commander for State visits and ceremonial events.
Mr Harrington became Chief Constable of Essex in 2018 and is the National Police Chiefs Council lead for public order and public safety, advising policing nationally and working closely with government to ensure that our streets are safe.
Mr Harrington said: “I’m deeply honoured to be awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal given the amazing work of colleagues in Greater Essex and across the UK in such testing times. I am also immensely grateful for the support and hard work of all the people I have been privileged to work alongside.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington and PC Paul Miller on patrol in Chelmsford during the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020
This year, officers who tackle drugs and those intent on supplying them in Essex have seen more than 210 years in jail sentences handed down to 50 convicted drug dealers.
In excess of 80 County Lines have been closed down, with more than 13kg of drugs with a street value of £536,000 and more than £255,000 in cash seized.
Since the first lockdown in 2020, the force has continued to recruit and train hundreds of new officers, and police officer numbers are expected to pass 3,553 in March 2022.
Essex Police is a diverse and inclusive place to work with great opportunities. The force genuinely values the things that make people different. It takes men and women from all walks of life to protect and serve the county and this is demonstrated in the New Year Honours announced today.