New chief constable ‘It’s all about getting our priorities right’

Thames Valley Police’s new chief constable claims that smarter working practices will help to protect frontline policing across the force.

Francis Habgood
Francis Habgood

Francis Habgood, who took up his post on April 1, sat in on a morning meeting at Aylesbury Police Station this morning with Aylesbury’s Local Policing Authority Commander Olly Wright.

This year the government’s grant to the force dropped by five percent.

When asked how this would affect policing in the Vale Mr Habgood said: “Policing is all about identifying the risks and the key threats, this happens on a daily basis. We then allocate resources based on that.

“The reality of this can be seen in our crime figures, in this area the number of homicides is very low, and we have been able to invest the detectives that would have dealt with those crimes into investigating child sexual exploitation.

“These are some of our most skilled detectives.”

And child sexual exploitation is at the top of the force’s agenda in Bucks, following Operation Articulate, which saw 11 people charged for a string of grooming and sexual offences against young girls. The men will appear for trial at The Old Bailey next month.

Mr Habgood said: “Since the issue of child sexual exploitation came to light in 2010 to 2011 we’ve done an awful lot of work.

“We have made lots of investments and have been working with other partners, which has been a really effective way of sharing information and services.

“We have also worked with particularly communities and groups to make them more aware, most recently the taxi community in Oxfordshire.”

And Mr Habgood admitted that the force would not know exactly how much money the have to work with until after the general election.

He said: “We are going through a process at the moment, but what the next budget will be after the election is difficult to say.”

Mr Habgood started his career in West Yorkshire, where for five years he worked as a bobby in Leeds.

He came to Buckinghamshire 11 years ago and has worked as deputy to former chief constable Sara Thornton.

He said: “ It wasn’t really ever my dream to be chief constable.

“I probably started thinking about going for promotions after I had done five years in Leeds city centre.

“My mantra has always been, do the job you are doing to the best of your ability for the time that you are doing it, and when opportunities arise think about those opportunities.”