ESSEX Police’s chief constable will leave his post on May 3 next year it has been revealed.

The departure date of Jim Barker-McCardle who announced last month he would be stepping down from the post in 2013 was announced by Nick Alston, the force’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

In a statement, Mr Alston said the timing had been agreed between both he and the chief constable, adding the search for his replacement has started.

Mr Alston said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, I have decided that we will start the search for the next Chief Constable of Essex Police with immediate effect.

“I will be doing my utmost to ensure that Essex has the opportunity to recruit a first class Chief Constable from a range of high calibre candidates.

“Jim has been a fine Chief Constable, constantly striving to deliver the best possible policing service to all the communities of Essex.

“I am delighted that Jim has agreed to lead Essex Police well into next year, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”

On October 26, Mr Barker-McCardle told all the candidates for the PCC election via email he would be resigning from his post next year.

His decision was not stated publically though until the following month after the elections had finished.

In the email Mr Barker-McCardle had said he was looking to stand down from the high profile role due to “personal reasons”.

Since becoming the chief constable of Essex Police on September 8, 2009, Mr Barker-McCardle has overseen a major reorganisation of the service as funding cuts have come into practice around the county.