New top cop's pledge to county

SUFFOLK'S new chief constable today pledged to strengthen the links between the community and the police service once he takes up his new role in the spring.

SUFFOLK'S new chief constable today pledged to strengthen the links between the community and the police service once he takes up his new role in the spring.

Simon Ash, currently deputy chief constable of Hertfordshire, was appointed to the top job in Suffolk after a two-day selection procedure.

He will be moving into the county with his family and is looking forward to starting work at the Martlesham Heath police headquarters.

He said today it was important to maintain Suffolk's position as statistically the safest county in England, but also to make the community feel safe.


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Mr Ash said: “In preparing for my interviews in Suffolk I visited officers on the ground and I was very impressed by their work within the community.

“Of course the statistics themselves are very welcome, but it is really more important that people feel safe as they go about their lives and that is what I shall be concentrating on.”

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Mr Ash said that Suffolk, as one of the smallest police forces in the country, had particular pressures which came under the spotlight during the killings at the end of last year.

He said: “While I was not involved in that investigation, it was clear that the co-operation that Suffolk received from across the country was very important and showed that a comparatively small force can deal with difficult situations.

“There was talk about merging forces. That has been shelved for some time now but there is clearly a need for smaller forces to co-operate on major investigations.

“What we will see over the next few years is Suffolk police co-operating more with its neighbours, but still retaining its own identity.”

Mr Ash, 46, is married to Lorraine and they have two children - Jack, 13, and 11-year-old Grace.

When he is not at work he likes to play golf and is a season ticket holder at Cambridge United: “So I know how tough watching football can be,” he joked.

“With two youngsters needing to be taxied about, a lot of my time is spent on family matters when I'm not at work,” he added.

Simon Ash facts:

Born in Kent, he studied at Cambridge University and joined Kent Police in 1982.

In 2001 he joined Hertfordshire Police as assistant chief constable, later promoted to deputy chief constable.

Currently lives near Royston - but plans to move to Suffolk with his family.

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