Chief Superintendent Jenny Barnett
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Chief Superintendent with responsibility for Professionalism and Information Management. I started my policing career in the Metropolitan Police Service and moved to Essex Police in February 2021. Before joining policing, I was a career civil servant with responsibility for Magistrates’ and Crown Courts across London.
I have been fortunate to serve in local frontline policing in east and north London, as well as in Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection.
I have three teenage daughters who I love to spend time with and also enjoy walking, reading and running (slowly).
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am fortunate to be able to work across the whole force, meaning I can support other teams across the force and make sure we contain the consistent standards the people of Essex deserve.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
One of the founding policing principles is that ‘The police are the public and the public are the police’. This cannot be true if we do not truly and accurately reflect the communities we serve. Outside of work we see ourselves reflected in public services such as the NHS and our local authorities, but this is less apparent in policing and we are on a journey to attract colleagues who can represent their communities and encourage others to join us.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
There were no barriers to me joining Essex Police. I am, however, acutely aware that I am one of a small number of black female officers within the force. I am therefore keen to encourage other groups who are less represented to join us as officers, and if people think we need to change or improve, one of the best platforms to do this from is from within.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I have been in Essex Police for a short time but I am mentoring others within the force and am supported by peers, and colleagues across the force.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Did you know that Essex Police still has Victorian cells in one of its police stations complete with a bell to call the jailor – although we don’t use them anymore!
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as black, Asian or an ethnic minority thinking about joining Essex Police?
Every single police officer is able to make a positive difference every single day. If you are black or Asian or from another minority group, you could be the person to make the difference – maybe that will be to someone who looks and sounds like you. Maybe seeing you as an officer will encourage others.
It’s not just about responding to emergencies – although this is an important element of what we do. The range and scope of roles we occupy as officers is broad – from firearms officers, to dog handlers; detectives to surveillance officers; intelligence officers to Children and Young Persons Officers.