Essex: New police boss claims force will work hard for victims

Stephen Kavanagh, the new Chief Constable for Essex

Stephen Kavanagh, the new Chief Constable for Essex - Credit: Archant

THE new Chief Constable of Essex Police, Stephen Kavanagh, has pledged to put victims of crime at the heart of everything the force does.

Mr Kavanagh said that he expected his officers to have the law-abiding people of Essex at the forefront of their minds in dealing with everything from burglary and robbery to anti-social behaviour and speeding.

And he has set out three main priorities for his officers: to reduce crime, to catch more criminals, and to deliver greater levels of satisfaction for victims.

Mr Kavanagh said: “We need to work hard particularly around the quality of service we are giving to victims when they do call us for help.

“We need to turn up on time, we need to give victims and witnesses quality information, and we need to make sure they’ve got a permanent point of contact if they need it.”

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He stressed that the ‘small things matter’ including officers taking pride in their uniform, meeting their appointments, and appearing professional at all times.

This includes an aim to reduce the amount of time people have to wait for a visit from an officer when they call the non-emergency 101 number.

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Mr Kavanagh also plans to take a tough stance on those who take the decision to carry knives in public.

Following recent tragedies he warned that the presumption would be that these people should face charges – in an effort to make the rest of the people of Essex feel safe.

He added that it is important that families, who are worried about their sons or daughters carrying knives, work with the police and schools to tackle the problem.

He said: “As a last resort I think they would rather have them in a police cell than have them stabbed or dead. We need the support from everybody on the importance of what knives mean to local communities and the devastated lives they leave behind. Knife crime has been declining in Essex over the past 5 years. I will endeavour to carry on reducing this crime further.”

Mr Kavanagh took up his role on Tuesday May 7 and has since been carrying out a whistle-stop tour of police stations across the county and has been on several foot patrols.

But he is not new to the area having grown up in Essex before starting his 28-year career with the Metropolitan Police Service.

He said: “I have this ambition that Essex will be the best police force in the country. We are not going to aspire to be average.”

He added that he would also be looking forward to working with Police & Crime Commissioner Nick Alston to ensure that Essex has the best possible police force.

He emphasised that the key was to pull together, to work with partners, and for the police to listen as much as they talk.

He said: “For me to be responsible for the county in which I was born, brought up and educated, and in which my family lives and my son goes to school is the greatest privilege I could have in policing.”

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