Senior Met officer to take Cheshire role

9:25am Wednesday 12th February 2014

By Alex Bysouth

A SENIOR Metropolitan Police officer is to set to take up the post of Cheshire’s Chief Constable after a rigorous selection process.

After a grilling by senior officers across the criminal justice agencies and a panel which included an independent advisor, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer has selected Simon Byrne as the preferred candidate.

Mr Byrne is Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police and his appointment is subject to a confirmatory hearing by the Police and Crime Panel on February, 24. Subject to their approval, Mr Byrne will take his oath of office and become Cheshire’s Chief Constable on June 25, 2014.

The Commissioner said: “I am sure you will join me in congratulating him on his appointment.

"All of the candidates demonstrated exceptional qualities and they should all be proud of themselves but Simon was an outstanding candidate who was unanimously supported by the appointment panel.”

Mr Byrne will replace Chief Constable, Dave Whatton who has chosen to retire from policing.

"I am really excited and privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Constabulary at a critical time in its 157 year history,” he said. “My pledge is to relentlessly fight crime and antisocial behaviour."

Mr Byrne has lived in Cheshire since the early 1970s. After leaving a local comprehensive school in 1981, he joined the Metropolitan Police in 1982 where he pounded the beat at Paddington Green Police Station.

A transfer to Merseyside Police in 1985 saw him undertake a variety of uniform, CID and Headquarters roles. He was the Commander for Knowsley between 2002 and 2004, pioneering a new Neighbourhood Policing approach. In 2006, he was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable in Merseyside Police. After a brief stint in the Personnel portfolio, his tenure in charge of Operations saw him lead a sustained and successful crackdown on crime and anti-social behaviour.

Promotion to Deputy Chief Constable in Greater Manchester Police in 2009 led to Simon dealing with a period of intense scrutiny of the Force from the Police Regulator (HMIC). He led a relentless focus on crime reduction which turned round Force performance and removed the Force from the threat of intervention from the Home Office. He also co-ordinated a widespread programme of cost cutting and organisational change delivering a leaner yet more effective force.

A further promotion to Assistant Commissioner in the Met in 2011 saw him in charge of the biggest operational command in the Country running day to day policing across London’s 32 boroughs. In his time in London, Mr Byrne has successfully driven down crime and anti-social behaviour levels across the Capital as well as leading the biggest change to local policing in a generation with a significant boost to London’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

He has also chaired the Pan-London Criminal Justice Board leading sector wide improvements for victims and witnesses.

A member of the Association of Chief Police Officers, he has led national work on the development and use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems, the re-classification of cannabis and the policing of sex workers and prostitution.

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