Chief Constable's update
Interview with the new Chief Constable
Thames Valley Police’s new Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, who took over on 1 April, sets out his agenda for the future, including his vision, priorities and a message to the public.
An interview with new Chief Constable Francis Habgood video transcript
As the new Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police how do you feel?
Well I’ve worked for Thames Valley Police serving the communities for the last 11 years and it’s a huge honour and privilege to serve the communities as Chief Constable but it’s also a huge honour to lead the officers, staff and volunteers who work within the organisation.
What is your vision for Thames Valley Police?
Well, as I’ve said I’ve worked here for 11 years and I think we’re in a strong position. I take over a Force and within Thames Valley where our communities have never been safer, so my vision is really to maintain that but also to adapt to the changes that we’re going to have to make over the future. Some of those are going to be externally driven, in terms of new crime types, so we are able to respond and get on top of those but also we have to listen to the community and understand what their particular needs are, and we also have to live within the budget that is given to us and that is clearly going to be a challenging one for the future.
What are your priorities for Thames Valley Police?
Well, protecting the public is a clear priority whatever it is that is causing a particular concern, but also providing that emergency response. When people need the police, they need to know that we will be able to get there and we will provide an appropriate service. And, we must never forget that we are one of the three emergency services. But, it’s also providing a visible presence in our neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood policing is so important to our communities and I think that is one of the reasons why confidence in the police continues to rise and I want to maintain that and be able to link in closely with our communities over the next few years.
What challenges is the Force going to be facing over the course of the next few years or so?
I guess one has to start talking about the finances. Clearly there are going to be financial challenges. We’ve all ready taken out £59 million pounds from the budget over the last four years. I don’t know what the challenges are going to be in the future but we know they are going to be financial challenges. The new crime types - crime has changed and will continue to change. We need to be able to adapt to that with the resources that we have and also understanding that communities now are much more disparate and we need to be able to respond to those challenges. But equally with all of those come opportunities as well and it’s about maximising the opportunities over the next few years.
What changes are we going to be seeing at the Force over the next few years?
Well, there are a number of strands of work which we are doing at the moment, which we will deliver over the next couple of years. Probably most significantly around technology; how we can further improve the technology we’ve got so that the public can contact us in a number of different ways and ask for our services. How we can link in with the public as well and we’ve got some fantastic options already that are being used by many, many thousands of people, but actually to extend that. But it’s also about giving our officers the sorts of equipment and devices that they need to be able to do their job in the most effective way.
And finally what message would you like to send to the communities in the Thames Valley?
We will do everything we can, and I will personally do everything I can, to make our communities safe and to provide guidance and direction to the many officers, staff and volunteers who work for Thames Valley, and I’m really, really proud of all of those people. But we can’t do it on our own; we have to actually work with others, whether it’s partners or with members of the public, so we need your help. We will do everything we can to protect you but actually we need your help as well, and I hope that I can enjoy that over my term as Chief Constable.