THE new top cop at Cheshire Constabulary’s has said he is delighted and proud to be leading the force.

Mark Roberts has replaced Darren Martland, who retired on Friday, April 23, following a career in policing which spanned more than 30 years.

Mr Roberts was previously the Deputy Chief Constable at South Yorkshire Police and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role as Cheshire Chief Constable.

He served at Greater Manchester Police for 21 years and has worked at Cheshire Constabulary before, as Assistant Chief Constable between 2014 and 2017.

Mr Roberts is looking forward to being reunited with former colleagues, in addition to meeting all his new ones and leading the force out of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

He said: “I am delighted and proud to be the new Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary and look forward to working with our officers and staff, the Police and Crime Commissioner and local partners to deliver an outstanding service to all our communities in Cheshire.

"Having served in Cheshire for three years as an Assistant Chief Constable, I know that we have a great team who genuinely care about, and are committed to, public service.

“The force is already performing well. My role is to build on the work of previous Chief Constable Darren Martland and the team and to provide our people with the support and leadership that will take us to the forefront of UK policing.

“I am determined to bring my previous experience from Cheshire, Greater Manchester Police and South Yorkshire Police and my national roles to bear for the benefit of the constabulary so that we can continue to keep Cheshire a safe place for the public and a bad place to be a criminal.”

Mr Roberts was announced as Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane’s preferred candidate for the role on Monday, March 8 following a rigorous interview process, which was supported by key leaders across Cheshire and the College of Policing.

A Police and Crime Panel subsequently gave their backing for the appointment in a virtual confirmation hearing on Friday, March 12.

Mr Keane, now a candidate for next month's Police and Crime Commissioner election, said: “I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Mark to Cheshire Constabulary. He brings with him strong leadership skills and the dedication and passion to continuously strive for the best in order to protect our communities.

“Mark has a wealth of experience in local policing and will continue to deliver a community-based police service which puts residents at the heart of everything it does and protects vulnerable people.

“He believes in the approach of adopting problem-solving methods to work with local people to tackle issues that are specific to each local community.

“I believe his work over the forthcoming months and years will ensure that Cheshire remains one of the safest counties in the country.”

Mr Roberts' long-standing career working in both uniform and investigative roles started with Greater Manchester Police in 1993.

He went on to play an active role in many high profile incidents and investigations at GMP, one of the country's biggest police forces. He was also Head of Investigations for the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and was awarded three commendations from the Director of the FBI.

Mr Roberts completed the prestigious international Leadership in Counter Terrorism programme, was part of the review team for the case of serial killer Harold Shipman and received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for his role as a test purchaser tackling drug dealing in Moss Side.

He is a Public Order and Firearms Strategic Commander and was in charge of the tactical response to the 2011 riots in Manchester and Salford. Mr Roberts is also regularly deployed as the Head of Delegation when the England football team play abroad.

In his last post at GMP, as the Trafford Basic Command Unit Commander between 2009 and 2014, Mr Roberts was responsible for policing the Old Trafford football stadium. This included numerous high profile matches, in addition to the Olympic football games that were held there. During that time, Trafford had the lowest levels of crime in Greater Manchester.

Mr Roberts moved to Cheshire Constabulary in 2014 to lead local policing across the county, creating the eight local police units in place in Cheshire today.

His spell as Assistant Chief Constable coincided with reduced crime rates and an ‘outstanding’ inspection from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The last few years spent at South Yorkshire Police have seen Mr Roberts lead on force performance, discipline and complaints, legal services and corporate communications. During this time, it has been the most improved constabulary in the country for three consecutive years and is today amongst the very top tier of high performing forces.

Mr Roberts retains his position as the national lead for football policing and covert legislation and guidance.

He was responsible for the UK’s policing support for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia and recently completed an independent review into football policing on behalf of Police Scotland.

Mr Roberts is married and has two daughters. He has a master’s degree in Police Leadership and Management and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) last year for his distinguished service.