THIS time last year, the thin blue line was getting thinner for Essex Police.

Stretched to their limits amid austerity cuts and a change in crime trends, officers had to make do.

A major campaign called Fit the Bill has now been launched to encourage people to sign up, giving them an insight into what it feels like to be on the front line.

Deputy Chief Constable BJ Harrington has been a police officer for 27 years and is an advocate of the job’s value .He said it was about standing up for people and doing what is right - although he admits it is not always easy.

“I don’t think anybody joins the police for pay alone,” he said.

“There’s no amount of pay that can reward officers who run towards danger.

“I would be foolish if I didn’t say to people I wanted more officers, but we will do everything we can to make people committed.”

To be in the force officers must have unwavering enthusiasm and sound morals. Being decent and honest is his priority.

He said: “I’m always thinking: ‘Have I got enough officers out there?’ Of course we worry.

“Inevitably sometimes there is something you didn’t know, sometimes bad people do bad things you cannot predict.

“There is always someone after saying: ‘You should have known that’.”

The relationship between the police and the public has, on occasions, become strained.

However, Mr Harrington said this was not the case for Essex.

He said: “I have found we have the overwhelming support of the public because we are just citizens in uniform.

“You see a lot of publicity about mistakes, but all I would say is people make mistakes and we have good training and guidance. The world is a complex place.”

With cyber crime, particularly credit card fraud at a record high of £618million, the role of the force is evolving.

Recent terror attacks in London and Manchester have also urged officers to have a bigger presence on the streets.

Deputy Senior Investigating Officer for the major crime team, Stuart Truss, joined the police service in 2000. He investigates murder, rape, and kidnapping on a daily basis - but he is having to be more creative with his role.

“It’s that sort of role where you have either got it, or you haven’t,” he said.

“It’s about being able to be creative. The change in crime has made us work differently - for example child abuse has been around forever but with cyber crime it has become a lot more hidden.”

He said despite cuts to the service, he feels the force can always pick up a trace left behind.

“There’s no secret to the fact our officer numbers have shrunk and it may seem the police are less visible, but I don’t think they are on the streets any less. They are just spread further.

“We are led by intelligence and crime trends, and it’s one way we have had to think differently.”

Even the most appealing of jobs have ups and downs.

Sgt Sara Dean is a Dog Training Sergeant and said although the job is exciting, it is hard work.

She said: “It’s not easy, we are constantly training the dogs as they need to be kept to a certain standard. They have a 13-week basic training course and refresher sessions.

“The most interesting part is you don’t know what’s going to happen each day, it’s really exciting.”

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