Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m the Chief Constable of Essex Police and am very proud to be leading the brave people who protect and serve the county every day – whether that’s by responding to incidents on the frontline, detecting and preventing crime, or supporting us so that we can do our jobs – it’s a privilege to be a part of it.
I spent a significant amount of my career at the Metropolitan Police, where I covered areas from Chingford to Tottenham, Finchley to Westminster, and Lewisham to Camden. I was even able to assist with the policing of the London Olympics in 2012, which is something I’ll never forget.
Outside of work, I love being at home with my wife, children and dog! In my spare time, I’m a keen runner and cyclist and take part every year in the Police Unity Tour charity cycle, which raises money for Care of Police Survivors.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The best part of my job is, without a doubt, meeting all kinds of people. Whether it’s visiting one of our stations to see the hard work we’re doing across different districts, being out and about in uniform and speaking to members of the public or local businesses and charities, or presenting a Commendation to my officers, staff or volunteers for an exceptional piece of work – the people I meet, who are from all backgrounds and walks of life, really do make the job for me.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
For me, diversity and inclusion are about having different and diverse perspectives. It is about understanding the needs of different people and having the wide range of views and perspectives to reach widest viewpoints with different perspectives around the policing table.
Ensuring there is equality of opportunity helps us do that and that is why. I want to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to bring their knowledge, their skills, their way of thinking, into our workforce.
We’re stronger when we’re made up of different types of people, that much is clear. Everyone has a unique set of experiences and perspective and when they can work towards a common cause, like protecting and serving the people of Essex, they’re unstoppable.
If you can value difference outside the workplace, and allow others to be themselves, then it’s much easier to reflect those values into your day job as well. I know it’s been a topic of conversation recently, especially in policing, but I like to think that Essex Police has moved on a great deal and that we’re continuing to learn from any past mistakes.
How do you think Essex Police values difference?
Like most of society, we haven’t always gotten it right, but I think we’re in a better place now and continuing to improve.
We’re committed to learn and we’re always listening to feedback from our officers, staff, volunteers and members of the public for any ways we can improve.
There are lots of things I could choose from, but I’ll go with just one. I’m really proud of the support networks we have in place. I know that these networks – whether they exist to support gender equality, sexuality, faith, or ethnicity – are of real comfort to the people who use them. They’re a great way to ensure that we, as Essex Police, are doing things in an inclusive way, and can highlight areas of improvement. Every network has a link straight into a Chief Officer. For example, I’m the Chief Officer lead for the LGBT+ Network, which means that any concerns can be raised directly with me. It also means that I have the honour of helping to raise the Pride flag at Headquarters every year, and can attend Pride alongside members of the network to speak to the LGBT+ community about their relationship with policing.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
I get to meet and see the work of all sorts of people across Greater Essex from the charitable and voluntary sector. The range and extent of the willingness of people to volunteer to help different and diverse communities in Essex fills me with pride. Our work with the Essex Community Foundation as well as the support from all the different volunteers really shows me the diversity of this county and the community spirit that helps Essex Police do its job.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Don’t hold yourself back – submit your application. We’ll support your needs and your work will be valued here.
Police officers are a part of your local community, so we want to be sure that we’re as representative of our communities as possible. You never know when your strengths, your differences, will compliment another officer’s way of thinking, and crack a case, safeguard a victim effectively, save a life. Why not find out?