Rural crime, “meaningful dialogue” with migrant communities and the “disproportionate effect” of neighbourhood disorder are top priorities for Lincolnshire’s new police chief.
In his first interview with the Spalding Guardian, Bill Skelly (50) described being Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police as like “standing on the shoulders of giants in taking on this proud heritage”.
Mr Skelly, who took charge of policing the county a week ago, thanked his predecessor Neil Rhodes for doing “an absolutely fantastic job in getting the police service to where it is today”.
But on the challenge of reaching out to eastern Europeans and other nationals who have made South Holland and Lincolnshire their home, Mr Skelly said: “My first issue is to meet people.
“There are things that I hope and intend to develop in more depth in the weeks and months ahead to create a meaningful dialogue with people from different communities.
“That requires us, as a service, to go into those discussions without preconceived ideas of what we’re expecting from them but, instead, being able to create the confidence to have that dialogue.
My first issue is to meet people and there are things that I hope, and intend, to develop in more depth in the weeks and months ahead to create a meaningful dialogue with people from different communitiesBill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police
“I’m aware of the issues with migrant workers and how that’s going in areas like Boston.
“But if we stick with traditonal ideas, we shouldn’t be surprised if we get the same kind of answers or responses when we engage with the community.”
Mr Skelly, who is married with two daughters, revealed that he is meeting with farmers and NFU leaders tomorrow to talk about hare coursing, aware that “the rural community feels strongly on the issue”.
On crime and disorder, Mr Skelly said: “I’m not aware of anything specific in relation to anti-social behaviour and street drinking.
“But I am aware of the general issues and I don’t see anti-social behaviour as low-level crime because it can have a disproportionate effect on people who feel they are prisoners in their own home.
“Hopefully, we can improve the quality of life for people who otherwise might feel they are being victimised.
“I’m clear that I have two broad responsibilities, one is to my staff and the people who form Lincolnshire Police.
“The other is to the public of Lincolnshire, not just those in any particular part of it.”