New Chief Constable hopes to use technology to make policing more effective

  • New police chief hopes to give officers electronic devices out on the beat
  • Mr Habgood said he will be dealing with the threat of hefty budget cuts
  • Hopes technology will allow officers to deal with crime more effectively

The new Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police says he wants to work with the public to help keep his area a safe place to live and work.

Francis Habgood was made chief two months ago following his appointment by the Police Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.

Chief Constable Francis Habgood

Chief Constable Francis Habgood

Before that he was Deputy Chief Constable for the force for six years, but first joined TVP 11 years ago from West Yorkshire Police.

Mr Habgood said he will be dealing with the threat of hefty budget cuts and investing in technology to allow officers to deal with crime more effectively.

He hopes to give officers electronic devices out on the beat - putting an end to hand written statements - and encouraging the public to report lost or stolen items online.

Speaking to our sister paper in Milton Keynes, Mr Habgood said:: “Officers out on the street want to be able to access the information they need, when and where they need it.

I don’t know what the level of cuts will be in the future or how quickly we will have to make them, but we are planning for that now.

Francis Habgood, Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police

“This will allow them to do the job as best they can.

“I know a lot of members of the public are surprised we still take handwritten statements when actually we should be providing officers with a laptop or tablet so they can take that witness statement, with an electronic signature.

“All of those sorts of things are coming over the next couple of years. It will reduce some of the frustrations and bureaucracy, but I think it will provide a better service.”

Mr Habgood is no stranger to the financial strain that is currently on the service, as it is revealed the force has another £13million worth of cuts to make in the next year.

Chief Constable Francis Habgood

Chief Constable Francis Habgood

He said: “We have got some challenges ahead.

“We know there are going to continue to be budget reductions.

“Policing at the Home Office is not a protected department so we are going to see continued cuts, but we have a good history in terms of how we have managed that.

“I don’t know what the level of cuts will be in the future or how quickly we will have to make them, but we are planning for that now.

“It’s too early to say what those plans are at the moment.”