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Stephen Kavanagh QPM

Stephen Kavanagh QPM

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Laws


Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Stephen Kavanagh for the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws.

Stephen Kavanagh is the former Chief Constable of Essex Police, having retired from duty in September 2018.

A local boy through and through, Stephen grew up in Chelmsford, attending The Boswells School and studying at Chelmsford College. At the age of 18, faced with the choice of attending university or beginning a career, as the son of a serving Essex police officer there was really only one route to take. And in 1985, Stephen joined the ranks of the Metropolitan Police.

After passing out, PC Kavanagh took to his new role with diligence and enthusiasm, seizing every opportunity to gain exposure to a broad range of policing disciplines, both as a uniformed officer and a plain-clothes detective.

Stephen’s hard work and natural abilities set him on a fast track to promotion, and he rose rapidly through the ranks. Yet in a service increasingly staffed by university graduates, Stephen was keen to augment his practical experience with academic study, and he embarked on a postgraduate course in Criminology at Cambridge University, gaining his MPhil in 2002.

Later that year, Stephen attained Chief Officer status, subsequently accepting a variety of challenging roles in areas as diverse as territorial policing and counter-terrorism, where he would lead a number of highly sensitive investigations.

By 2013 Stephen was one of the Met’s most senior and most capable officers, yet it was time for a fresh challenge. In May that year, it was my pleasure as Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex to appoint Stephen as Chief Constable of Essex Police.

This was an interesting time to take the helm at Essex Police – the service faced significant budget constraints and heightened scrutiny over its performance. And for the first time, its Chief Constable would become accountable to a Police and Crime Commissioner.

Over the next five years, Stephen led the force with distinction, building a confident and forward-looking service. He quickly established strong relationships between Essex Police and a great many Essex stakeholders, including the region’s universities, local businesses, the military, voluntary and third-sector organisations, local authorities and indeed this Cathedral where we meet today.

Stephen has provided firm leadership to the alliance between the region’s seven police forces. And as the National Police Lead for Digital Investigation and Intelligence, he has been a dynamic and innovative leader, also serving on the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The vision and openness that Stephen brought to the policing of Essex; the values he promoted; the determination and innovation that he brought to national policing; his drive for community engagement at all levels; and in particular, his support for the establishment of the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region at ARU – all these efforts and achievements were formally recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, in which he was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for distinguished service.

And they fully merit recognition by our University in the award of an Honorary Degree.

As an inspirational leader, Stephen will be an outstanding role model for our researchers and students of Law and Policing.

We are delighted to welcome Stephen to our ARU community.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Stephen Kavanagh for the award of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.