New chief’s aim to ‘break down barriers’ ahead of Lincolnshire role

MAKING PLANS: Bill Skelly is due to join Lincolnshire Police as Chief Constable on Wednesday after transferring from Devon and Cornwall Police.  Photo supplied.
MAKING PLANS: Bill Skelly is due to join Lincolnshire Police as Chief Constable on Wednesday after transferring from Devon and Cornwall Police. Photo supplied.
  • Top cop pledges ‘a passion and willingness to listen’
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The new Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police has pledged to “listen and support” eastern European communities when he starts work next week.

Bill Skelly, currently Deputy Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, takes over from Neil Rhodes in the £148,857 role in charge of policing the county on Wednesday after a confirmation hearing last month.

Mr Skelly, appointed by Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, was given the rubber stamp to take the job by members of the county’s Police and Crime Panel (PCP) on December 19.

During the hearing, details of which were made public by the PCP last Friday, Mr Skelly said: “I have a desire to make a difference and wherever I have been, I have given (my) full commitment.

“I have a passion and willingness to listen to the communities themselves and I can create an environment where it is the norm for people to have confidence to speak to the police service.

“This comes by giving people the opportunity and show them that they are being listened to.”

Police officers have the desire to protect members of the community, but it is more than just about the language barrier

Bill Skelly, incoming Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police

As well as working with people originally from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland who have now settled in Lincolnshire, Mr Skelly also pledged make rural crime “a priority” to work within the force’s tight budget.

He said: “Police officers have the desire to protect members of the community, but it is more than just about the language barrier.

“There are EU citizens all over the country and I have found that by demonstrating to that community, or individual, that it is about confidence and trust by engaging and making an effort, it breaks down barriers.

“It is about values versus how this community wants to be engaged with, making the language barrier less important.

“Two factors highlighted in Lincolnshire are sparsity and the seasonal variation in the population, so we need to be serious about community safety and partnerships.

“The rural nature of communities here means that rural crime is a priority.

“But it is not just about responding or reacting as there is an element of prevention and intervention as well.

“There could be a benefit by shifting the balance of how these are dealt with, resulting in huge benefits for victims and organisations.”

Supporting his choice of Mr Skelly as new Chief Constable before the PCP, Mr Jones said: “I was looking for someone who was a strategic thinker, but also to go above that and be strategic in this role.”