New top cop is on mission

sp89759   Divisional commander Karl Smethem
sp89759 Divisional commander Karl Smethem

THERE is a new man leading policing in Amber Valley.

And Karl Smethem, the new Divisional Commander of C Division, based in Chesterfield, believes in giving victims the best service as well as meeting targets.

He said: “We have had over the past three to four years an unbelievable performance as a division – crime’s down, detection has risen and anti-social behaviour has reduced.

“These are still three key issues for me, I want to see that in 2012 we’ve improved them further. But this is all about improving user satisfaction.

“It’s easy just to talk about numbers without realising that these people are victims, we need to give them the best service we can because that’s a key focus for me in my time here.”

Derbyshire Constabulary faces £24m in spending cuts over the next four years after a Government grant reduction.

Div Cdr Smethem, 49, said C Division, which stretches from Barlborough to Little Eaton having taken in the Amber Valley area a year ago, had had to contribute to savings.

Although resources would change, with a recruitment freeze plus fewer staff, the aim was to ensure the service was unaffected and work had the greatest impact possible on criminals or victims.

He added: “I would like readers to know that despite whatever cuts we have to make, and while we would rather be increasing spending than decreasing it, I understand the need to contribute to reducing public spending, we are committed and will always be committed to providing the service that the people of this area have grown to expect.”

Dad-of-five Div Cdr Smethem took over from Roger Flint on April 1 and co-ordinates a command team as well as being a link to police HQ.

Living in Belper, his 25-year career has been with Derbyshire through a large variety of roles and ranks while his son has followed in his footsteps to become a Derby detective.

“If there was a post you were going to choose as divisional commander it would be this,” he added.

“I’ve spent most of my career with this division and to come back and lead it is absolutely wonderful.”