Drugs and cash seized in over 80 County Lines drugs raids

BJ Harrington of Essex Police. Picture: Essex Police

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington of Essex Police - Credit: Gary Kenton / Essex Police

Over 80 County Lines have been closed down in Essex and Thurrock this year, Essex Police has revealed.

They have seized more than 13kg of drugs with a street value of £536,000 and more than £255,000 in cash.

The news comes as 56 new officers - 20 women and 36 men - have been welcomed into the force through the latest Passing Out parade.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington's speech referenced the importance of earning and keeping public trust, following Sarah Everard's murder by Wayne Couzens, a serving member of the Met Police.

New members of Essex Police marching in uniform and white gloves

Essex Police Passing Out Parade, October 2021 - Credit: Essex Police

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, and Bishop of Colchester Roger Morris were among the VIPs.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP talking to new officers the Essex Police Passing Out Parade

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP at the Essex Police Passing Out Parade, October 2021 - Credit: Essex Police

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington speaking to a new officer at Essex Police Passing Out Parade, October 2021

The October 2021 Passing Out Parade at Essex Police - Credit: Essex Police

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington told the ceremony: “I wish to be clear that as Chief Constable I accept the challenge to rebuild the bond of trust between the police – the men and women here – and all those who we are here to protect.

“I accept this challenge because when I see your commitment and when I see the support of your loved ones here today, I feel proud and privileged to be your Chief Constable and because I know that you are with me. I will also make a promise to you and to the people of Essex.

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“I promise that as you carry out your duties insofar as they are lawful, necessary and proportionate, you will have my unwavering support. I promise your families that as colleagues, we will look after each other.

“And I promise that we will not rest until our county and our society is a safe place for every man, every woman and every child who lives here.”

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, said: “These are difficult times for policing, and we know that policing nationally needs to do more.

"It needs to do more to support women and girls, to rebuild confidence and trust. It needs to be better at working with our communities to get crime down.

“We build confidence through every interaction we have, every contact, every conversation and every person we help. We build confidence by hard work, professionalism and dedication."

Latest data shows the number of female Essex Police officers has reached a record high - more than 35% of officers in the county are now women (1,246). The force aims to increase this figure in the coming year.

Essex Police numbers are due to grow to more than 3,500 by the end of next month, excluding essential police support staff and volunteers.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “The police workforce is changing – we now have more female police officers in England and Wales than ever before and the number of ethnic minority police officers is the highest on record – and we want to see police forces becoming even more representative of the communities they serve.

“I want to congratulate and thank these new recruits who join hard working, committed police officers up and down the country, who feel passionately about the job they do and keeping the public safe.”