Police commissioner tells why Toddbrook rescue leader Rachel Swann will make a great Chief Constable

The search for Derbyshire’s next Chief Constable is finally over. This month I announced Rachel Swann, who is currently Deputy Chief Constable, as my preferred candidate, for the demanding role.

By Hardyal Dhindsa
Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 12:59 pm
Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann.
Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann.

Many of you will know Mrs Swann from her sterling efforts during the Toddbrook Reservoir emergency in August 2019, in which she led a complex, multi-agency operation to protect the lives of the Whaley Bridge community.

During her time as a senior officer, Ms Swann has handled many high-profile incidents and this experience really stood out in the robust assessment process, which put her skills and knowledge under intense pressure. Her strong leadership will be vital as we build on our performance in the future. I look forward to working with her in her new role, subject to a confirmation hearing by Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Panel.

With a new Chief Constable at the helm, we will continue to tackle our priority areas, as always with a special focus on supporting victims of crime. One key area will be hate crime and it has been encouraging to see recent figures for the Chesterfield area showing a decrease in reported hate crimes over the past year compared to an increase in Derbyshire.

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Within these figures, the level of race-related hate crime has shown a steady rise year on year in Chesterfield, as it has across the county, although the town still experiences almost half the amount compared to some of the Derby City police areas. The force’s hate crime coordinators and Safer Neighbourhood Teams are working with partners to support victims and encourage reporting.

A review is looking at police practices to identify areas of improvement needed in tackling any form of inequality with a particular refocus on race disproportionality in the way we provide a service to Derbyshire and how we treat our diverse policing workforce.

We will be examining trends in the use of discretional powers such as arrest, stop and search and use of force as well as staffing issues including our internal promotional system and complaint procedures. While we have always taken these issues extremely seriously, the BLM movement should prompt every organisation to go deeper in examining further opportunities for progress.