PEOPLE “do not get into policing to become rich”, Essex Police’s chief constable told reporters, as he defended his decision to demand a pay rise for officers.

BJ-Harrington, who has been the top dog at the countywide force since 2018, popped his head above the parapet on Friday when he called for an increase in police pay.

The starting salary for a PC in Essex is about £28,000, and can rise to more than £40,000 over seven years, but Mr Harrington says officers are struggling to pay bills.

As a result bobbies – both experienced and fresh-faced – are said to be leaving the profession in their droves in search of better paid jobs.


Speaking at Essex Police’s headquarters in Chelmsford, Mr Harrington refused to specify how much of a pay increase he would like to see materialise.

But when pressed on the implications a rise would have on the public’s pocket, he said he believes the people of Essex want to contribute to the longevity of the force.

“We know the money would come out of the taxpayers’ pocket and we are aware of the pressures which are on people across the county,” he said.

“But all I would say is we are starting to reduce crime and thanks to the support of the people of Essex we are starting to be really, really be affective.

“I would like to think the public is happy to contribute to make sure we are properly funded and the force can continue doing the great job we are doing.

“I want police officers to stay, I think the public of Essex wants them to stay, but we need to make sure they have every opportunity to be the great cops they want to be.”


As much as Mr Harrington is desperate to see the salaries of his officers increase, he said this fight is as much about them feeling appreciated as it is financial security.

He said: “People do not join policing to be rich, they join because they want to protect and serve communities and help people and catch baddies.

“But they need to be able to live, feed their families and pay their mortgages. They are not asking for anything which is unreasonable.

“These officers are working 24/7 shifts when we are in bed. They are out there doing dangerous things and they run towards danger in the rain, the sun and the wind.

“We just need to make sure they feel valued and ensure they can afford to stay doing the job they joined the force to do.”

A police representative in Essex has now thrown her support behind Mr Harrington, saying police officers are not being greedy in asking for a pay rise, they just want what they deserve.

Sergeant Laura Heggie, who is the chairman of the Police Federation for Essex, said: “This isn't officers being greedy, this isn't them wanting extra, this is them wanting what they have lost and what they deserve.

“The cost of living has rocketed and officers feel extremely let down by the Government - for too long now officers have been suffering.

“We are seeing more officers unable to make ends meet than ever before, officers having to apply for pay day loans, attend food banks and running up.

“If things continue in this way then we will not only continue to lose officers to other occupations but struggle to recruit and retain officers.”