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DCC Police update

New Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Police has set out his priorities for the Force.

Published: 17 January 2023

Chief Constable Will Kerr, Devon and Cornwall Police

Sixteen days into the new year, and the new Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Police has set out his priorities for the Force.

With over 30 years’ policing experience, Chief Constable Will Kerr was appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, following a rigorous selection process. Will commenced his role with the Force on Thursday 29 December 2022.

Chief Constable Will Kerr said:

“I am deeply proud to be the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police. I have dedicated my career to serving the public and I look forward to continuing this work at the head of this organisation.

“I have purposefully spent my first few weeks meeting officers, staff, and members of the public who make up the fantastic communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly. I have listened to, and taken onboard, their concerns and views on how they feel about their police force. A fundamental process – one of listening – which has and will continue to shape my priorities for the Force.

“We’re very fortunate that Devon & Cornwall Police has a number of core strengths to build on, including very strong community connections, and active community support. Having worked in policing in other parts of the UK, I know how important these critical components for good policing are.

“It is no accident that Devon and Cornwall Police has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and remains one of the safest places to live in the UK. This is down to the hard work of officers and staff, but we haven’t done this alone; our communities and partners have helped us achieve this. Thank you for that support which we do not take for granted.

“However, I am under no illusion of the scale of some of the challenges ahead – including those highlighted in the recent HMICFRS [His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services] inspections, but I am confident that we can address these positively and relatively quickly, and continue to deliver the service that our communities expect and deserve.

A very important part of my job is to ensure that my officers and staff can carry out their roles effectively which is why I have laid out the following priorities are to ensure that we are able to deliver the best policing service that we can;

  • Connectivity: to improve our access to, and visibility with our communities – In short, to continue to invest in our Neighbourhood teams and their role in the organisation. We will continue to make significant improvements in how the public can contact us and access our services. We know that policing works best when we work alongside our communities using all the information and tools available to us. A neighbourhood-focused policing approach sustains those important relationships and delivers better policing.
  • Looking after the workforce – My plan is to invest in officer and staff well-being and creating a supportive environment which encourages delegation and innovation. Our police numbers have significantly increased over the past few years, and we need to invest in the investitive and leadership skills of that young in service workforce.
  • Getting our standards right – Police officers and staff perform an important and sometimes dangerous role for society. They deserve to be looked after. We will continue to invest in, and improve, our investigative standards. We also need to tackle unacceptable behaviour internally in the same way. Respect and civility – both within the Force and outside it – are professional requirements and lie at the heart of the policing by consent model of British policing.

“These aren’t the only three priorities for the Force, of course. They are, however, areas which set the tone and standards for everything else.

“I am looking forward to getting out and about over the next few months and continue to get to know the communities that make up Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

A snapshot of the Chief Constable’s career:

Chief Constable Kerr joined the Force as Chief Constable in December 2022 with experience gained from over 30 years of in policing, much of it working at a senior level in different organisations across the UK.

Most recently he was Deputy Chief Constable for Police Scotland with responsibility for local policing provision throughout Scotland. He also oversaw both the criminal justice portfolio, and the partnership, prevention and community wellbeing portfolio, a command of over 16,500 officers and staff.

He was elected to one of the three European delegate posts for the Executive Committee of Interpol in November 2021, a position he will hold until November 2024. This is an influential post, involving complex global politics in an organisation consisting of 195 member countries.

Will spent over 27 years in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) where he rose to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable (ACC). As ACC for crime and operations he was the lead for both serious crime and counter terrorism.

Whilst ACC for Belfast, he was responsible for policing all major events in the City and was the Gold (strategic) Commander for the parading season in Northern Ireland. He is a very experienced Gold Public Order firearms Commander and has significant investigative expertise in serious and organised crime, and Counter Terrorism.

In 2017 and 2018, Will held The Director of Vulnerabilities command within The National Crime Agency. In that role, he co-ordinated the UK’s response (both domestically and internationally) to child sexual abuse, modern slavery, human trafficking, and organised immigration crime.

Will was awarded the OBE in 2015 whilst ACC with PSNI and received the KPM (Kings Policing Medal) in the New Year Honours 2023.

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