CHESTER’S new chief inspector has vowed to increase police visibility on the streets saying he and his detectives will get into uniform and on the beat where possible.

Steve Griffiths, who is in the role temporarily but hopes to extend this past six months, spoke to the Standard this morning (Friday, December 6) about his approach to keeping the city safe.

Despite nationwide resource cuts, he says it is important that officers are seen out and about as both a deterrent to would-be criminals and reassurance for members of the public.

“Visibility for me is a massive issue,” said Chief Inspector Griffiths, who has worked in the police for 24 years.

“It’s been brought to my attention that people don’t see the police enough in the city. So when detectives don’t have anyone in custody then why not put a uniform on and get out into the city? I’ll be doing the same. We should all be involved in policing this iconic city.”

These days there is very little need for officers to return to the police station in Blacon as they have tablets and can do admin work in public, he said.

“There’s no reason why they should have to come back to the police station at all,” the chief inspector added. “They can do their work in public which means they are more visible.

“Visibility deters crime. If you’ve got a police officer walking down the street then a shoplifter will think twice. It’s about reassurance too. Love us or loathe us, if people see an officer they know there is someone there to deal with any incidents.”

Chief Inspector Griffiths replaces the outgoing Chester Local Policing Unit (LPU) chief, Carlos Brunes, who is moving into another role at HQ and whom he says has left an impressive legacy.

A front-line police officer through and through, he intends to use his knowledge and experience to “make Chester a safe place to live”.

Having started out with the Metropolitan Police in Romford, he moved to incident management and neighbourhood policing in the Congleton and Macclesfield areas of Cheshire.

The last four years have been spent leading the force’s road and motorway policing team, aiming to reduce road casualties and protect the county’s borders.

He said the message was getting through to people about the dangers of drink and drug-driving, as well as using mobile phones at the wheel, but there was still work to do.

“There are always some that think they can get away with it,” he said.

He also intends to use his roads policing experience to make major routes around Chester safer, such as the A55, A41 and M53 where there have been a number of fatalities.

Asked what the major issues are facing Chester, he said: “As soon as I landed the first issue brought to my attention was homelessness.

“We are certainly aware of this and the city centre team works hard with our partners to get the best solutions. It’s not going to be easy when you have 50 or 60 homeless people in the city and no accommodation.

“People often say ‘it’s not a policing issue, why are you getting involved?’ If there’s no criminality then it’s not but when people in the city centre report anti-social behaviour it definitely becomes one and we want to work with our partner agencies to tackle this.

“We need to engage with them [homeless people] and find out how we can help them. No one wants to be homeless but there’s no simple solution.”

Chief Inspector Griffiths said that thankfully he had not been made aware of any other major issues faced by the police in the Chester area.

“I’ve not been hit by any major, serious issues which is really reassuring,” he said. “There is hard work to be done and things we need to deal with but nothing on my radar to say ‘you really need to get on top of this’.”

He said much of this was down to the work of PCSOs and officers embedded in their communities who “nip things in the bud early doors”.

“We have a dedicated team in the city which isn’t going to be huge – with police resources as they are it will never be huge,” he said. “But they do a fantastic job.”

Chief Inspector Griffiths also stressed the importance of the public passing on information and reporting crime.

“We’ve got a police representative in every area of Chester and people can report on the website or anonymously through CrimeStoppers,” he said. “Our PCSOs are always there for people to talk to.

“If we don’t know about it then we can’t help. I don’t want to hear people in the pub saying ‘the police haven’t done anything about it’ when we can’t act if we don’t know! I want people to know we will deal with anything put in front of us.”

  • To report a crime, or for more information, visit , call the police non-emergency number on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or contact CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.