Reassurances from Tameside’s new police chief
Thursday 19th January 2017 16:01 Ashton Denton & Audenshaw Droylsden Dukinfield Hyde Mossley & Saddleworth News Stalybridge Posted by Adam Higgins

Tameside’s new Chief Superintendent has reassured residents that the police will still be effective in the area despite the challenges faced due to funding cuts.

Chief Superintendent Neil Evans started in his new role last week saying he is committed to effective community policing throughout the borough.

Police enquiry desks have recently closed at stations in Denton and Hyde, due to what Greater Manchester Police says was a lack of demand, but Chief Supt Evans stressed it won’t affect the local officers’ ability to do their job.

In an interview with the Reporter, he said: “Although we’ve closed the desk in Hyde, we certainly haven’t closed the police station.

“The most fundamental thing for me is that the police officers in that station, covering places like Denton and Hyde, are still there and still available.”

Challenges

On the challenges faced by GMP over the last seven years, he added: “I think GMP has lost around 2,000 officers in the last five years and clearly that makes things more challenging.

“The work I’ve been doing over the last two years has been around what we call ‘Proof of Concept’ sites.

“There are two of those in Tameside, in Hyde and Ashton, where our beat officers and PCSOs are working in the police stations with people from health, environmental services, children’s services and adult services.

“We’re all working toward shared outcomes in our communities, which is about making them more resilient and making the outcomes better for the people that we’re dealing with.

“We’ve had some great results and is something that, now I’m closer to the ground, I am going to make sure we absolutely embrace.

“I think my message (to residents) would be yes, it’s absolutely a challenge and our officers tell us that.

“It’s the role of people like the Chief Constable and myself to make sure that we are as organised as effectively as we can be to deliver the type of policing we want to deliver, but also that our communities want us to deliver.”

Born and raised in the West Midlands, Chief Supt Evans says he wanted to be a police officer from the age of 14.

He began his policing career in 1989, working his way through the ranks in Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton before joining GMP in 2010.

He has previously worked in Tameside, spending two years as the Operations Superintendent
between 2011 and 2013.

Cases

During that time, he worked on some of the area’s most difficult cases, including the EDL march in Hyde in February 2012, and the murder of his colleagues PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, later that same year.

Talking about his experience in leading the safeguarding operation after losing two of his colleagues, he said: “It was probably one of the biggest personal challenges I’ve faced in policing.

“But it wasn’t just a personal challenge for me.

“It was a personal challenge for the officers on the ground, the people under my command who were actually dealing with the people we needed to look after. It had a significant impact on us.

“The one thing that sticks in my mind about that is the overwhelming support of the public, which was massively important to both me and my officers at the time.”

The father-of-one, who spends the little time he’s not working keeping fit and socialising with friends, is also responsible for Oldham and Rochdale in his new role.

He spent the first week on the job visiting the police stations he’s responsible for and meeting local leaders.

“It’s very much been about getting round the police stations, meeting people, having conversations with them and finding out their challenges and issues and also getting out into local communities and doing the same,” he said.

“The really inspiring thing for me is when I’m speaking with officers.

“Yes they tell you the challenges but a number of them end stating ‘but this is still the best job in the world.’ That’s absolutely what I feel after 27 years.”

He says he’s eagerly looking forward to the months and years ahead.

“I’m really, really excited about going back and meeting a lot of people I’m familiar with.

“It’s a great division with great people.

“I’m really familiar with Tameside itself, but of course I’ve got Rochdale and Oldham so I’ve got a lot to do to familiarise myself with the people and the towns there, but I’m very much up for it,” he added.

 

By Tom Greggan