The new chief constable of Sussex spelt out her goals in her first interview today (Tuesday 30 June).
And she said that she would listen as Sussex Police – along with other police forces around the world – learns the lessons from the Black Lives Matter protests and life under the covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Jo Shiner, 48, said: “I’ve got three priorities – protecting our communities, catching criminals and delivering an outstanding service to victims, witnesses and the wider public.”
Her promotion from deputy chief constable was confirmed at noon after the Sussex Police and Crime Panel unanimously supported the recommendation from police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne.
The chief constable said: “I am incredibly proud and privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead Sussex Police over the next five years.”
The new chief formally takes over from Giles York on Saturday 11 July, becoming the first ever woman to lead the force.
She said: “During my 18 months as deputy chief constable I have experienced the hard work and dedication of all frontline colleagues and those supporting them. They police with pride and professionalism to keep the public safe every day.
“They are achieving phenomenal results every single day, preventing crime, making arrests and often putting themselves in danger as they go that extra mile to protect our communities.
“Going forward I have set out a set of clear priorities that will underpin what we do
• Protect our communities
• Catch criminals
• Deliver an outstanding service to victims and witnesses and the wider public
“The last few months have been a test for everybody and have highlighted the importance of the relationship between the police, partners and public.
“In summary it is about listening to our communities. It’s making sure that our frontline are properly skilled, briefed and supported by the whole policing family, including our special constables and our volunteers.
“It’s about ensuring that we are delivering the right resources and working closely with our partners to keep people safe.”
The new chief acknowledged the different make up of Brighton and Hove compared with much of the rest of Sussex, including the diversity of the population and its politics.
She spoke about the challenges of “county lines” drug dealers and praised her officers after recent arrests.
She said: “In protecting our communities we are committed to identifying, understanding and listening to all of our communities, whether that’s our rural communities, our business communities, our online communities or those coming into the county and leaving again.
“Throughout all, prevention is vital. I would much sooner invest in preventing somebody becoming a victim of crime than deal with them once they have become a victim.
“Having an operational background, I have worked with enforcement teams, community safety partners, prevention teams and wider partners, so I greatly value partnership working.
“I feel there are very few circumstances or crimes now where policing is the single answer.
“As the national policing lead for children and young people, it’s really important to me that we don’t unnecessarily criminalise young people when they have their whole future ahead of them.
“However, I wouldn’t want that to be taken as us not taking action when we need to. But we do need to help educate young people to make the right choices for themselves. Again, this is not something we can do alone.
“Catching criminals is absolutely key to protecting our communities and we will continue to make sure that Sussex is an environment in which criminals cannot thrive.
“We will continue to develop the resources, the skills, the capacity and capability to catch them and bring them to justice. That in itself improves outcomes for victims and it also empowers my officers and others to do exactly what they joined to do.
“I am determined that we will deliver an outstanding service to victims and witnesses because there is no doubt that it is communities that catch criminals in partnership with the police.
“Often, it is information from the communities given to police or the intelligence services that has led to convictions and arrests – and the only way in which we can do that is to make sure we have the public’s confidence and the confidence of those communities to actually talk to us in the first place.”
Recent improvements, largely due to council tax precept investment and other funding have enabled the force to create new and effective teams to improve outcomes. These include the Tactical Enforcement Units, rural policing crime teams, greater prevention teams, and administrative support for investigators so they can focus on investigating crimes where people are most at risk.
The new chief added: “I am absolutely clear and confident that having seen how hard, how diligently and how professionally everyone within Sussex Police works, we can deliver an outstanding service in all that we do.”
Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am delighted that the panel has supported my decision to appoint Jo Shiner as the next chief constable of Sussex.
“Chief Constable Shiner clearly and professionally demonstrated her skills and capabilities at the confirmation hearing. She outlined her exciting plans for Sussex Police, focusing on tougher enforcement and more proactive, visible policing.
“She has pledged to make Sussex Police tougher on tackling criminality and even more supportive to victims of crime and to put more officers out on the beat, engaging with residents and visitors in our city, towns and villages.
“I have every confidence in her to lead our expanding force into the future and I look forward to working closely with her and her senior team to deliver a top-quality policing service to our residents.”
Councillor Bill Bentley, chairman of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, said: “This is a challenging time for a new chief constable to take post and the panel was reassured that Jo is both intending to raise Sussex Police’s public profile through her personal leadership and will target increasing the quality of policing in Sussex to outstanding.
“These actions will provide reassurance to the public, both during the current public health emergency and for the medium-term development of policing and victim support.”