THE chief of police in Essex is to stand down, it has been claimed.

Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle, who was appointed to the role in September 2009, wrote to candidates in the recent police and crime commissioner elections to tell them of his plans.

According to the BBC, he told candidates he would be leaving for personal reasons, but did not give a date for his departure. 

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "The priority of the chief constable is to welcome the newly elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) 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 supporting Nick Alston in the weeks ahead and policing Essex."