Essex: Police Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle hands over the reins
A TOP officer has retired after a policing career spanning more than three decades.
The Chief Constable of Essex, Jim Barker-McCardle, has left policing after 32 years, and said his time with the force and serving the people of Essex has been the highlight of his career.
He steered the force through a period of change with budget cuts when he took up the reins in September 2009, while ensuring crime rates continued to fall.
Mr Barker-McCardle, who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in her birthday honours in 2007, said: “The credit can only belong to the men and women of Essex Police, who have had to experience uncertainty and change on a scale never experienced by their predecessors. They have been outstanding.”
Major operational challenges during Mr Barker-McCardle’s reign have included the policing of the Olympics and its torch relay and the Dale Farm travellers’ site clearance.
Mr Barker-McCardle, who is married and has one daughter, said it has been a privilege to work with the officers, staff and people of Essex. He added: “I must also highlight the outstanding work of our councils, criminal justice agencies and the vast number of superb volunteers across Essex who work together to make Essex ever safer.
“Policing is a unique profession, placing extraordinary demands on extraordinary people, including restrictions on their private lives. It is a career which involves self-sacrifice, courage and public service.
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“No officer has more greatly illustrated those qualities than Pc Ian Dibell, who gave his own life last year to protect others. Every day the police officers and staff of Essex turn up for duty knowing they may face situations in which they will have to make split-second judgements on which the safety of the public, suspects and themselves will hinge.
“There is no under-estimating the daily challenges and risks that they face, but also that this job can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying that anyone can do.”
Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said when he was elected in November it had seemed a way off from Mr Barker-McCardle’s retirement.
He added: “It has, however, raced towards us and we say goodbye to Jim and wish him the very best for a long and fulfilling retirement.
“Jim has been a deeply thoughtful, caring and committed Chief Constable respected by his peers and by the many groups with whom Essex police work to deliver joined up criminal justice for the county.”
Mr Barker-McCardle will be succeeded as Chief Constable by Stephen Kavanagh who is currently a deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police.