THERE are more women police officers than ever before at Essex Police.

In the past 12 months, the number of female Essex Police officers has reached a record high, with 1,246 women working for the constabulary.

More than 35 per cent of officers in the county are women, and bosses at the force say they aim to increase this figure in the coming year.

The news came as Essex Police was bolstered by 56 newly graduated officers at a passing out parade today (October 8).

The new policemen and women were welcomed into the force by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.

The parade was the first opportunity for families and friends to join an Essex Police passing out parade since March 2020.

Over the last 18 months, 507 men and women have been trained and have qualified as new officers for the force.

The new officers are the latest people to join Essex Police, which is due to grow to more than 3,500 (excluding essential police support staff and volunteers) by the end of next month.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Constable said: “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.

“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.”

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse added: “I am delighted to see these women and men starting new careers at Essex Police – they join the ranks of nearly 10,000 others across the country who have been hired as part of our flagship police recruitment campaign, motivated by the desire to make a difference and protect the public from harm.

“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.”