A Christmas message from Chief Constable Chris Haward
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Chief Constable Chris Haward reviews some of the major pieces of work in Lincolnshire over the last year, thanks all officers and staff for their hard work and dedication, and wishes all our residents a very merry Christmas.
Hello. Welcome to this year’s Christmas message in December 2023.
I'm giving this message from the Emergency Services Chapel in Lincoln Cathedral which you can see behind me which is dedicated to all those who work in emergency services across the fire service, the police service, ambulance service and the NHS who give their time and dedicate their lives to the service of our communities in keeping people safe and keeping people healthy.
So, if you do get a moment in the future to come in here please take some time to come and have a look at the chapel and just give thanks for the work that is done by all of our emergency services across the county.
But as we come to the end of 2023 I think it’s appropriate just to reflect on some of the great things that have been going on in policing in the past year and just to remind all of you about the wonderful work that our police officers and police staff and our volunteers do to keep you safe.
So, some of those examples include Operation Stabilise. This was a ten-month long drugs operation involving multiple assets, multiple tactics including undercover tactics and led to the arrest and conviction of forty five drug dealers across the county.
We've then also had county lines activity and that led to the arrest of six people recovery of six imitation firearms and seven young people - children - who were being exploited by these awful gangs so, some fabulous work there as well.
And then more latterly we've done some work in Gainsborough targeting drug dealing and offending in that town and ten arrests have been made there, following again a significant covert operation that took place and we're just waiting on the convictions and the trials to come to court.
Then alongside this we’ve seen a change in the summertime policing plan on the East Coast looking at how we do things differently, how we target offenders differently, how we target different venues and making sure that we actually look at the things that are most important and a result of that change in approach has seen reductions in burglary, reductions in violence, reductions in knife crime and most importantly, significant reductions in sexual offending and rape offences reported through the summer period it has made a huge difference.
On top of all of that we need to remember about things like Operation Babet which was our response to the flooding that happened later in the year. A huge effort from all of the emergency services and our other public services including our local authority partners but a massive effort just to keep people safe make sure that we evacuated people to where they needed to be but also to get people into safe accommodation and back into their houses as quickly as they can.
And then on a slightly lighter note but also remembering some of the things that happen on our roads our own Sergeant Mike Templeman has recently run forty-eight miles to raise money to remember those who’ve lost their lives on Lincolnshire roads in the past year a phenomenal effort on his part and he continues to try and raise money and raise awareness around this.
But I think at this time of year it's also time to reflect on the global instability that is happening we continue to see war in Ukraine, we’re seeing a war in Israel and Gaza as a result of those horrible attacks by Hamas on the Israeli people and I'd ask that at this time of year that we all come together to pray for peace to work together with each other for that solidarity and care for each other and reflect on what's happening in the rest of the world and do our utmost to try and keep the streets of the UK, the streets of Lincolnshire safe and work together to bring peace and harmony to everybody.
I think it's really important that we do that and that we work together as one whether we’re Muslim, Jewish, Christian or any other faith I think we should be working together and promoting peace amongst us.
So, I'd just ask as we go into the Christmas period that people reflect on that and then some good news from a Lincolnshire point of view over the past year we’ve seen some really positive work from our people that’s been recognised by being the winners in the national violence against women and girls category in the national [NPCC] awards. I can't name the individual involved but she’s done some fabulous work and has rightly been recognised for promoting the effort around that.
Lincolnshire Police has also been recognised for the second time in a row for being in the top fifty most inclusive employers in the UK and last week I had the privilege of going to the National Public Bravery Awards where three young men - Callum, Charlie and Ben - received national awards for stepping in and preventing a young lady from being sexually assaulted.
The boys were only fifteen and sixteen at the time and it took an immense amount of courage and bravery on their part and they were rightly recognised for that and actually showed some real true civic spirit in doing that.
So, I'd like to thank them and thank everybody else who helps us through the year.
And the final reflection from me is that this will be my final message as your Chief Constable in Lincolnshire Police sadly due to some personal circumstances I’ve had to make a decision to step away to give myself a little bit more flexibility and for those people who have those caring responsibilities and are looking after family members elsewhere please have a good Christmas and for everybody else please remember them through this Christmas and take some time to check that they're okay as well.
I've been hugely, hugely proud to be the Chief in Lincolnshire I'm very sad to be stepping away and I will miss this county very much but otherwise I will always have a place in my heart for Lincolnshire and for Lincolnshire Police and the wonderful work that they do.
So, wishing you all a very, very happy Christmas and a very happy new year you do still have me until the new year so hopefully I will get to hear about all the celebrations and the good news over the Christmas period.