DI Julie Gowen
4th May 1993
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Detective Inspector on the Major Crime Team at Rayleigh. Until recently, I was leading the team as we awaited a new Detective Chief Inspector. I did this for 20 months and learned a lot.
I knew early on that I wanted to be a Detective. When I joined as a PC, I was always interested in the more serious offences and crimes such as fraud and where possible I found ways to become involved in CID investigations. Essex Police gave me the training and the opportunities to develop from a PC to a Temporary DCI.
I have worked on the Local Policing Team (LPT), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as a DC, DS and DI and in the Public Protection Unit (PPU) as a DI.
I am now qualified as a Senior Investigating Officer and I work on the Major Crime Team which enables me to lead the most serious crime investigations, including murder. My Essex Police ‘journey’ has far exceeded my expectations and I am grateful for the opportunities that Essex Police has provided me.
I have worked on many high-profile cases, and even on cross boarder investigations including one that saw a serial stranger rapist receive 11 convictions at the Central criminal court.
Aside from working as T/Detective Chief Inspector on the Major Crime Team I am also the Family Liaison lead for the force. Family Liaison officers carry out such a vital role, which can also be very rewarding as this is what links our police officers to the people who matter the most; the victims of crime and their loved ones.
I have been a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) since 2000 and a Family Liaison Coordinator (FLC) since 2004 and as a practitioner and manager I have trained many other officers in the force as FLOs and FLCs.
Examples of where I was deployed as a dedicated FLC include Operation Sumac, the Suffolk murders in 2006, and Op Shakespeare, the tragic fire in Harlow that saw 6 lives lost in 2010.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends, partaking in water sports such as kayaking and sailing. I have played Badminton since I was 7 years old (many years now), playing in the local Southend Badminton league and representing Essex (a few years ago now!) and the force at the National Police championships.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I have always felt privileged to be a Police Officer and after nearly 28 years I have enjoyed all the different roles I have been able to experience.
In my current role as a Senior Investigation Officer (SIO) and as a FLC I see it as a privilege to work and investigate on behalf of the families of murder victims at the worst time in their lives. There is nothing more rewarding than ensuring that families and victims of serious crime are given a first-class service (getting a thank you from a family beats any award anyone could be given!).
Every day is interesting and challenging. There is no other role like it.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace
Diversity and inclusion are important, to ensure people feel valued as an individual and feel able to participate and feel that their contribution matters.
A diverse workforce means that we can gain from the different thoughts, ideas and ways of working that people from different backgrounds and experiences bring.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
I tried to join Essex Police in 1990 but at the time there were height restrictions in place, and I was an inch short of meeting the height restrictions. Those restrictions were removed later that year and the very next year, I applied to the force, joining in 1993. Within 5 years I was working on the cross-border serial rapist preying on women in London, Essex and Suffolk. He was caught and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years and is still in prison now.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
Essex Police makes genuine efforts to encourage diversity and to support difference. As a county we have a diverse community, so it is important that our workforce reflects this.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
During my career I have had some excellent line managers. Early in my detective career I was the only female on my shift. The DCI at the time would now be described as a “life on Mars detective”, however, I still look up to him as one of the best detectives I have ever worked for. He was a fantastic support to me, believed in my ability and gave me opportunities to progress as a DC and develop into the role. The grounding, work ethic and environment he created in the team allowed me to progress to where I am now.
Essex Police in recent years is more organised in their approach and offer a great network of mentors that officers young in service can access.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Even though we investigate the most tragic cases, working on the Major Investigation Team is extremely rewarding. The team are exceptionally professional and focused with their aim to support families at the worst time of their lives and get justice for the victim’s and their families.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
Everyone can add value and will bring different skills and experience to policing, please don’t be put off by feeling you are different. It does not matter what your background, age, ethnicity, faith, gender or sexual orientation is. If you want to make a difference and really care about others this is the career for you. I would recommend anyone that is interested to apply, best decision of my life to be a part of a great team!