Police & Crime Bulletin for October 2018

Francis Habgood announces his retirement as Chief Constable for Thames Valley

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Francis Habgood has announced that he is to retire.

He will retire from his role as Chief Constable at the end of March 2019, after four years in the post, 15 years within the force and more than 32 years in the police service.

In his statement, Chief Constable Habgood said:“Next year I will have completed over 32 years’ service in policing, 15 years of those as a chief officer in Thames Valley Police.

“At the end March 2019 my term as Chief Constable concludes and I have decided that it is the right time for both me and the Force that I retire.”

Chief Constable Habgood was appointed to the post in April 2015.

He joined Thames Valley Police in January 2004 as Assistant Chief Constable, where he covered all portfolios, including Crime, Operations and Local Policing. During this time he also spent three months helping to train future Chief Officers as a syndicate director on the Strategic Command Course.

Then, in October 2008 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable.

Before Thames Valley Police, Chief Constable Habgood joined West Yorkshire Police in 1987, where he worked in a variety of operational roles.

Chief Constable Habgood is a member of the NPCC Workforce Co-ordination Committee and leads on Pay and Conditions. He chairs the Protect and Prepare Board and is a member of the Counter Terrorism Coordination Committee. He also chairs the police committee that oversees the introduction of the Emergency Services Mobile Communication Programme. He sits on the Advisory Board for the Oxford University Centre for Criminology and is a visiting fellow of Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall.

In 2012, Chief Constable Habgood was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

“I will always love policing and it’s been an honour to serve the public, most recently as Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police,” he added.

“Thames Valley Police is an excellent force and I am privileged to lead the dedicated officers, staff and volunteers who work for us.

“In the coming months I remain fully committed to meeting the challenges we face and will continue to work tirelessly to make our communities safer.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police, Anthony Stansfeld said: “It is with considerable regret that I have received notice from the Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, that he will be leaving Thames Valley Police when his contract ends on the 31st March 2019.

“He has been an outstanding Chief Constable and throughout the last four years we have had an excellent relationship and I will be very sorry to lose him.

“During this period Thames Valley Police has been rated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) as one of the highest ranked police forces in the country and this is greatly down to his leadership.

“The Chief Constable will continue to lead Thames Valley Police over the next five months as we now enter a period of recruitment for his successor.”

The process for the recruitment of a Chief Constable is set out in guidance published by the Home Office and the College of Policing.

The Police and Crime Commissioner plans to advertise the role in early November and the intention is that the process for selecting a preferred candidate will be completed before Christmas.

As part of the formal selection and appointment process, the preferred candidate will be required to appear before a Police and Crime Panel Confirmation Hearing, early in the New Year.


Supporting victims of modern slavery

The Thames Valley PCC has marked Anti-Slavery Day by launching a new service to support victims of all forms of exploitation.

The Victims First Willow Project will support victims of all forms of exploitation across the Thames Valley.  This includes modern slavery, human trafficking and other forms of exploitation such as those exploited by County Lines drug dealing.  Support workers from the Willow Project will work with victims and their families to provide crisis intervention, advocacy and long term practical and emotional support.

The service will also provide support to Thames Valley Police and other partner organisations including training on exploitation and modern slavery and attending police raids and other operational activity to provide assistance to the victims.

Victims of modern slavery and exploitation can be referred to the Willow Project through Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or www.victims-first.org.uk

The service will also provide specialist support to victims of other forms of serious crime who have developed complex needs as a result.


Three men sentenced following assault in Slough

Following a Thames Valley Police investigation, three men have been sentenced for GBH offences at Reading Crown Court. 

Mohammed Qasim, Haroon Shouqat, and Amjid Hussain were jailed for a combined 33 years.

At around 2.30pm on Saturday 6 January this year, the victim, a 34-year-old man was assaulted by all three offenders on Burlington Avenue in Slough. Qasim also used a weapon during the attack.

The victim suffered multiple facial injuries and was taken to Wexham Park Hospital. He was later transferred to Northwick Park Hospital for surgery, but has since been discharged. 

All three men were charged on the next day, 7 January.

Investigating Officer Detective Constable Richard Ayres, of Force CID at Slough station, said: “This was a particularly violent attack which left the victim with facial injuries requiring treatment.

“Thames Valley Police will always investigate incident of this nature and investigate thoroughly to bring offenders to justice. 

“We are satisfied with the sentences handed out by the court.”


Policing the second Royal Wedding in six months

For the second time in six months thousands of people lined the streets of Windsor to celebrate a royal wedding, this time of Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank.

Months of hard work went into planning the police operation and together with partners we delivered a safe and secure day for all.

Thames Valley Police Assistant Chief Constable David Hardcastle, strategic commander for policing the event, said: “From everyone here at Thames Valley Police I would like to wish HRH Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank congratulations on their marriage.

“Yesterday along with our partners we delivered a safe and secure event for the couple, their guests, visitors to the Royal Borough and of course, the Windsor community itself.

“I would like to thank local businesses, residents and visitors for their continued support and cooperation in helping us to police this Royal occasion, both in the lead up to and on the days itself.”


Eight sentenced in connection with Oxford murder

Eight people from Oxford have been sentenced in connection with the murder of Christopher Lemonius in Blackbird Leys.

The eight were each convicted by unanimous verdict at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday, 9 October and sentenced to a total of more than 100 years in prison.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased that these nine people have been found guilty of their crimes and that eight of them have received these sentences.

“This was a prolonged and barbaric attack against Christopher Lemonius, who was left him to die.

“There is no doubt that those convicted of his murder fully intended to kill him. This was not an altercation which got out of hand.

“It is thanks to the excellent work of officers and staff involved in the investigation, as well as our colleagues in the prosecution team and the bravery of witnesses in coming forward and giving evidence, that these attempts to cover up Christopher’s death were not successful, and that justice has been done.

“Christopher’s family have shown remarkable dignity throughout this trial and investigation. They have had to listen to graphic descriptions of the injuries which were inflicted on him. I hope that they can now begin the process of moving on with their lives

“Thames Valley Police is absolutely committed to tackling serious violence and crimes, and this investigation demonstrates this.

“Those who commit acts of violence and cause harm to others will be brought to justice for their actions.”