INSPECTORS have praised Essex Police for preventing and investigating crime but warned more has to be done to remove potential corruption.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) has released findings relating to 14 forces across the country - including Essex.

The police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy inspection ranked Essex Police as good in all areas except for ethical and lawful workforce behaviour where it was marked as requires improvement.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said: "I am pleased with the performance of Essex Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

"The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.

"It is good at investigating crime and has continued to improve how it identifies and protects vulnerable people.

"It does this through more effective joint working with partners and greater use of protective powers.

"Essex Police is ambitious in its planning for the future and wants to be at the forefront of innovative practice.

"The force understands its demand well.

"It uses this information to develop robust financial and workforce plans to make sure it uses its resources as efficiently as possible.

"The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well.

"But it has more to do to assure itself that it has the capacity and capability to root out corruption.

"Overall, I commend Essex Police for sustaining its positive performance over the past year.

"I am confident that it is well equipped for this to continue."

The report said Essex Police had worked hard to vet their workforce to meet a national deadline however the backlog is expected to be dealt with soon.

They have been advised to ensure there is capability and capacity to counter corruption effectively, fully monitor computer systems to identify data breaches and building effective relationships with individuals and organisations who support and work with vulnerable people.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “I am pleased the HMICFRS recognise the hard work and commitment of my officers and staff, in particular praising the work we are doing around protecting vulnerable people, preventing crime and our service to victims.

“HMICFRS inspected Essex Police in September last year and we have not waited for the report to put into place action to improve where they identified areas where we could do better. In particular a lot of work has already been done in areas such as how we investigate crime, however, we continuously review and improve how we work and have established further measures since the inspection was held.

“The demands on our force have been challenging they are increasing and changing, but we will always strive to give the best possible service to our communities and I am pleased that the report recognises this.

“I want Essex to be a force that is skilled, equipped and enabled to police in the 21st century so we have invested in new technology to help officers do their job better and more efficiently.

"This includes body worn cameras to secure the best possible evidence to bring offenders to justice and the extended use of mobile technology to allow officers and staff to be more visible in communities.

“We have also recruited more police staff and officers and we have ensured these are going to support our ability to keep pace with increasing demands.

"However, importantly we are investing in areas that will help us to prevent crime and further contribute to keeping the vulnerable safe.

"This includes securing over £2.5 million from the Home Office and Essex County Council in partnership with the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner to help tackle serious violent crime and vulnerability."