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Ian Hughes, Chief Inspector, Essex Police, Serious Violence Unit

My name is Ian, I have been a Police Officer for 19yrs and I’m currently the Detective Chief Inspector within the Serious Violence Unit (SVU) overseeing Essex Police’s response to reducing drug driven serious violence and knife enabled crime.

I work closely with the Violence & Vulnerability Unit (VVU) to ensure that a partnership approach is adopted at every opportunity to effectively reduce victimisation, offending patterns and locality-based challenges.

Prior to joining the SVU I spent my Policing career at Southend District, departing there as the District Commander.

I am very passionate about partnership working and getting into the cause of problems with a view of preventing reoccurring patterns.  This can only be achieved by sharing information and experience, working in partnership to co design remedies and then effectively evaluating the impact – no one agency can solve this complex challenge.

Outside of work you will find me at the gym 4-5 times a week, often very red faced…….


Alex Bridge, Workforce Development Project Lead

I am Alex, a Service Manager in Children’s Services in Southend and have been working in the borough in various roles with adolescents for over 18 years.

We live in a fast moving industry where the recruitment and grooming of children and young people changes rapidly. With the increased understanding of the various risks faced by our young people in the community, it is vitally important that we equip our workforces with the ability to recognise those involved in some form of exploitation and provide them with the skills to respond to it appropriately.


Jim White, Secondary Prevention Workstream Lead

I am Jim White, I am currently the Sport and Youth Crime Prevention Project Manager for the Active Essex Foundation (AEF) and I was one of the first members of the Essex VVU when it was formed in 2019. I believe so fundamentally in what the VVU is trying to achieve.

In my former incarnation I was a Detective Chief Inspector working in the Serious Violence Unit at Essex Police and my background was serious crime investigation, gangs and County Lines, knife crime and serious violence. However, I was always of the view that enforcement was only one element in the fight to reduce serious youth violence, and that prevention and safeguarding, working together with other agencies and community based organisations and groups was the key. It’s is amazing and heart warming to see the development of the team and the evolution of the work throughout the years.

In my role at AEF I find that the use of sport and activity in projects and interventions provides opportunities for positive engagement and interactions with children and young people.

Outside of work I am Daddy to my large brood of children, which certainly keeps me occupied, and I look forward to opportunities to get away to the mountains and snowboard; roll on the winter!


Martin Solder, Secondary Prevention Workstream Lead

I am Martin Solder the County Director at the Essex Boys and Girls Clubs a post that I have held for the last 33 years. I am along with Jim White the co lead on the violence and vulnerability secondary prevention stream.

There are a plethora of Clubs and organisations for our young people that are, in my opinion, integral to a young persons development. The work that the voluntary sector does across all of these organisations Scouts, Guides, Church youth groups, Boys and Girls clubs etc is vital in preventing some young people being drawn into crime and disorder, which is why I am passionate about the work that we are doing through secondary prevention.

I grew up in the East End of London and if it had not been for the opportunities that I had through my local Boys and Girls Club my life would certainly not be on the path it is now. I hope that through our secondary prevention work that other young people may benefit just as I have done. There are many great organisations, great people and fantastic work that is happening across the whole of Essex, Southend and Thurrock that I hope we can help grow through our support.