14 June 2024

Senior police officer honoured for service says forces had to ‘hold mirror up’

14 June 2024

A senior police officer has said forces have had to “hold a mirror up” to their performance in recent years, as he was recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Andy Marsh, 58, chief executive of the College of Policing, also said he felt junior staff had the best ideas for improving services, as he was made a Knight Bachelor for his services to policing.

Mr Marsh, who has been in his current role since August 2021, started his police career in 1987 at Avon and Somerset Police before moving to two other constabularies.

He is now the longest active serving chief constable in England and Wales and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2018.

Mr Marsh told the PA news agency: “I’m humbled at receiving such an honour and stunned by it, of course.

It's made me feel very reflective about all of the people that have helped me in my career, and what the police are and what we stand for

“It’s made me feel very reflective about all of the people that have helped me in my career, and what the police are and what we stand for.”

Mr Marsh pioneered the widespread use of body-worn video by officers on duty, while chief constable at Hampshire Police, making it the first force to equip all frontline officers with the cameras.

During his time at Avon and Somerset Police, he led an approach to using data such as analytics alongside more traditional policing methods to manage demand.

On his current work at the College of Policing, Mr Marsh said: “Policing has had a difficult three years. We’ve had to hold a mirror up against some really dreadful incidents and crimes that shouldn’t have happened, and I’ve said publicly that I think the College of Policing is needed more than ever before, to help policing step up to the challenge.

“Some of the things that we’ve done are to issue new guidance and codes of practice on vetting, we’ve issued a new code of ethics which focuses on public service, respect, empathy and courage – it’s a beacon of all officers and staff.

“But I think the work around leadership is the most important.”

Mr Marsh said one of biggest challenges facing police forces across the country was funding, and that his toughest moments have been losing colleagues as “that pain never goes away”.

But he said he had stayed in the service for so long because of his “brilliant, fantastic” colleagues and because “our work is never done”.

He added: “I am inspired by the most junior people in policing, and they have the best ideas about what we should do to improve our service.

“That’s why people like me need to keep listening.”

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