THE Chief Constable of Essex Police plans to stand down before the end of his contract.

Jim Barker-McCardle took over the position three years ago and has two years remanining.

However, in an e-mail sent to all candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner election he made it clear that he does not intend to see the five year contract through to the end.

The decision is believed to be for personal reasons, but Essex Police are keen to stress that no date has yet been set for his departure.

A force spokesperson said: “The priority of the Chief Constable is to welcome the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure the very best police service is delivered to the diverse communities of Essex.

"As a courtesy, the Chief Constable wrote to all PCC candidates before the election about his future plans, but his current focus remains firmly on policing Essex and supporting Nick Alston in the weeks ahead.”