The new police commander for Brighton and Hove took up his post today (Monday 15 April).
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp set out his priorities, including a focus on sexual offences and domestic abuse.
He will also look at ways to strengthen Operation Reduction which tackles drugs and drug-related crime.
Chief Superintendent Kemp, 40, was born in Brighton and served here as a sergeant, inspector and detective chief inspector.
He said: “I have personally felt the consequences of the darker side of Brighton and Hove when a member of my family became schizophrenic and her life changed forever following a weekend of illegal drug taking.
The new divisional commander takes over from Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, who retired last month after serving as a Sussex Police officer for 30 years.
Chief Superintendent Kemp said: “I would of course like to see overall crime drop and for people to feel safe going about their daily business irrespective of what time of the day it is.
“But I would also like to see more of certain crimes reported to us because at present we know we don’t get to know the full picture.
“First among these are sexual offences and domestic abuse.
“Work is already under way in Sussex Police looking at how we can redesign our teams and introduce specialist investigators for serious sexual offences.
“Violent crime linked to alcohol in public places will always be a challenge, and even though Brighton and Hove is generally a safe place, incidents of this type can be so damaging.
“I am pleased with the approach the council is taking in looking at this and I am also keen we do all we can to work with them and local businesses to make the city even safer still.
“Thankfully, Brighton and Hove sees very low levels of gun crime compared to many other cities in the UK and this is particularly welcome when considering its close proximity to London.
“I think that this is certainly in part down to the success of Operation Reduction and the joint partnership work that this entails.
“For the last seven years Op Reduction teams have been catching and convicting organised drug dealers operating not only in Brighton and Hove but in Liverpool and London.
“When you prevent organised drug gangs from getting a grip on a city, I believe you then prevent all the side-effects spilling from this, like gun crime.”
He added: “It’s great news that the city recently lost its title of ‘drug capital of the UK’ due to a fall in the number of drug-related deaths.
“I will continue to support Op Reduction and look at ways we can strengthen and improve on aspects of its work, particularly with substance users.
“Substance misuse continues to be a problem and particularly so among the homeless community.
“They are very vulnerable, as the recent murder in Hove has reminded us, and so our work with them is more important than ever.
“This is particularly so at a time when their numbers could increase even more due to financial pressures.
“I have some ideas that I think will improve on the way we police the city but I know that my team at Brighton have many more and I want to make sure that I and my management team tap into that.
“I’m hoping to be in the post for a good few years that will allow me to do just this.”
Speaking about his new role, Chief Superintendent Kemp said: “This is without doubt the highlight of my career so far but I also know it will be the most challenging thing I have done.
“From a policing perspective I love the diversity, innovation and buzz of Brighton and Hove. You have to deal with just about everything.
“For me it’s like coming home, having been posted here as a sergeant in 2000.
The last five years I’ve been in detective roles but I’m really looking forward to getting back into uniform and getting out and about with officers and meeting the local community.
“I’ve inherited an amazing team of officers and staff with a strong sense of identity and team spirit and this is one of the reasons I am so enthusiastic about my new role.
“But it goes beyond just the police and includes many partnership teams, successfully set up by my predecessor, Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett.
“The division could not operate effectively in almost any area now without strong partnership working and this is something I want to continue to develop and make stronger still.”
Chief Superintendent Kemp, who went to Longhill High School and Rottingdean Primary School, spoke about the people and things that have inspired him and how he relaxes outside of work.
He said: “From my early teens I knew that I wanted to work in the public sector and try to make a difference.
“This desire was definitely influenced by my father who, although British, volunteered to fight for America in the Vietnam war.
“He spent three years there, was shot down twice and awarded the Silver Star and years later he wrote a published book about his experiences.
“He is certainly someone who has inspired me and is very proud of the career path that I’ve chosen.
“Everyone needs something to help them switch off from work and, besides my two teenage daughters and my wife, I have to tend to our four chickens, one cat, two gerbils and a very energetic dalmatian dog that we rescued two years ago.
“I also try to find time for gardening, which includes a small vegetable plot.
“To help relax and stay in shape I took up running a few years ago. Although I’m not the quickest, I did complete the inaugural Brighton Marathon running for the Alzheimer’s Society and have just run the half marathon again this year.
“Running also helped me shed over a stone without giving up chocolate which I love.
“It is one of the few times I have when my time is my own and I can listen to music or nothing at all.”
Chief Superintendent Kemp added: “I’m passionate about politics and current affairs and my favourite television programme is Have I Got News For You.
“My favourite film of all time is Into the Wild – a true story directed by Sean Penn.
“I dislike bullies and those who abuse their position of power and authority.
“I get really sad about anything to do with human suffering, particularly where children are concerned.
“As a boy, I was in the Scouts locally (the 23rd St Margaret’s in Rottingdean). I had a wonderful leader who taught me lots about public service as well as how to tie a knot!
“I am a Brighton and Hove Albion supporter of course.
“The first game I saw was when they played Notts County at Wembley in the play-offs in 1991 which they sadly lost 3-1.
“Sadly, I am not a season ticket holder as I can’t make enough of the games but enjoyed taking my daughters to see the Bolton game at the Amex this season.”
Chief Constable Martin Richards said: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Nev for six years and am delighted with this appointment.
“He inherits a strong team of officers and staff and I have no doubt that he will be supportive and inspirational in his leadership and continue to improve on the valuable and innovative partnership work that is so important for us all.
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Bill Randall, said: “Like all councillors I am looking forward to working with Nev to strengthen and develop the great partnership that has been forged between the police and the council.
“I am particularly pleased that Nev is a local man who understands our city and is sensitive to its diverse policing needs. I wish him well for the future.”
Chief Superintendent Kemp’s career with Sussex Police
- 1995 Joined Sussex Police as a constable working in various roles in Mid Sussex
- 2000 Promoted to sergeant in Brighton and Hove
- 2003 Promoted to inspector in Brighton and Hove
- 2007 Promoted to chief inspector as head of crime and counter-terrorism operations at Gatwick Airport
- 2009 Appointed detective chief inspector in the Specialist Investigations Branch HQ CID
- 2011 Appointed head of crime investigations in Brighton and Hove
- 2012 Promoted to superintendent as head of the force Protecting Vulnerable People Branch
- 2013 Promoted to chief superintendent as divisional commander of Brighton and Hove