Wiltshire's new Chief Constable
PUBLISHED: 15:34 30 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:13 20 February 2013
Wiltshire's new Chief Constable, Brian Moore, has a vision for policing in the county. If you're out to cause trouble in Wiltshire, then think again, because Brian Moore is set on making Wiltshire into the safest county in the country. Violence is...
When I spoke to Brian Moore he was very nearly into a magic number: three months, three weeks and just short of three days since he took office as Chief Constable of Wiltshire. That very day he was due to finish a series of meet-and-greet sessions with his officers and staff, making it 2,200 members of the force he has spoken to in those three months, as well as dealing with the procedural ramifications resulting from the introduction of the Government's Police Community Support Officers' initiative whereby 90 neighbourhood policing teams were established throughout the county.
Another major issue facing Brian was one facing police forces throughout the country: the rise in serious and organised crime, and the need to establish specialist teams of detectives to combat the problem. Coupled with the rather more mundane (though no less important) issue of managing the change of the force's telephone handling system from local exchanges to a central call centre, it has been something of a hectic few months for Wiltshire's new Chief Constable.
Nothing less was expected, of course, but important though procedural matters are, Brian can't wait to get stuck into what is going to be the guiding principle behind his leadership of Wiltshire's force: that of making Wiltshire the safest county from violence in the UK.
"I've been a police officer for 30 years now with the Metropolitan Police and the Surrey force, and I've seen and dealt with enough violent crime in those years to make me want a no-tolerance attitude to street violence," he told me.
Making things better is something that drives every police officer. "For the first four or five years of being a policeman I was living off the buzz of the profession - it's a fantastic job and I just wanted to get out on the streets and catch as many criminals as I could. When I got made up to Sergeant and had picked up enough experience on the streets, I found my mind moving more towards how things could be organised better. As soon as you reach supervisory status in the force then you do have to start planning and thinking ahead - and that's what the last 25 years of my career has been about."
Planning apart, Brian isn't the sort of policeman who is content to sit behind a desk driving initiative after initiative. "You can soon find yourself out of date that way," he told me. "I still command firearms operations and I help out with public disorder or domestic abuse offences, just to keep my hand in and my feet firmly on the ground. As a Chief Constable you have to be operationally credible as a leader as well as a manager, and that's what I intend to be. I won't ask my staff to do anything that I don't think I could (or should) do myself, and equally I expect of them the same standards of appearance, behaviour and professionalism that I've always been careful to maintain throughout my career."
If anything is going to epitomise Brian Moore's commitment to Wiltshire, it's the sense of community that he wants to instil, bringing together all the disparate elements that have anything to do with justice and law and order into the one basket. "I've been very pleasantly surprised at how very different in character the various areas of the county are," he said. "It's my job to make sure that the police feel, and are, relevant to all these different communities."
Apart from the taxing administrative issues facing the police force with the forthcoming local government reorganisation in Wiltshire (in terms of co-ordinating the current police community areas with those of the new council), there are two major issues that will be facing Brian in his leadership of the Wiltshire force. One of those is the perennial financial challenge of finding the resources to give the public what they want (and deserve) of their police force. The other - and one close to his heart and not entirely divorced from the financial issues - is his drive to clean up the streets of the county.
"My vision for the county is very clear: I want this to be the safest county in the country with no tolerance for any violence on our streets whatsoever. I want to make sure that everyone has a part to play - the police, schools, local authorities, politicians. I want to make sure that everyone is driving the same message to communities: there is no place for violence here and we will not tolerate it or accept it."
Key to that, Brian feels, is to involve the community much more than it already is. "I would love to see the public play their part in helping keep crime down. I want to see more Special Constables on the streets. I would love to see more people involved in Community Speed Watch (voluntarily logging speeding vehicles for subsequent prosecution). I would like to see more Neighbourhood Watch schemes and, above all, I would love to bring all the various agencies together under one umbrella so that the public has one centre, in its various community areas, for reporting crime and receiving help.
"In some areas of the county there is a sense of rural isolation in terms of police presence and I want to see that situation reversed. I view the community as very much a part of modern-day policing. Wiltshire police will push itself to the maximum to be the best police force it can be, but I do want to encourage more help when I can get it from our public to help us to deliver our mission."Much of that community assistance is already there, of course, but what Brian Moore hopes to do in his tenure as Chief Constable is to see it all joined up in a cohesive manner throughout the county. Will Brian Moore's magic number prove to be prophetic? Well, it takes something a deal more prosaic than magic to bring about a sea change in law and order. It takes good, solid policing backed by enthusiastic local support and, in Brian Moore's hands, that's just what is planned for Wiltshire;