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New Chief Officer lands… via New York and Sudan!


West Midlands Police’s new Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott has arrived from Cheshire… via New York and Darfur!

ACC Boycott has spent her 24-year career with Cheshire Police where she graduated from beat officer to become one of the most senior women in UK policing.

But she’s also worked on two notable secondments during her time with the north-west force: one at Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, driving up standards in UK policing, and the other overseeing a UN police project in war-torn parts of Africa.

The UN peacekeeping role − from 2006-08 − saw her manage the international policing response to crises in places like Sudan and Darfur and negotiating police officer contributions from all corners of the globe.

She said: “I was based in New York alongside senior officers from across Europe, Africa, India, Pakistan, South America and the United States − but it involved regular trips, often for weeks at a time, to Sudan and Ethiopia.

“The peacekeeping mission involved around 7,000 police officers, mainly from Africa, but others from police forces around the world, in particular India and Pakistan.

“Our role was to establish a police presence in these challenging areas and to ensure local people were being trained as police officers. It required delicate talks between the African Union and international policing bodies; it was a hugely rewarding role and one that certainly honed my negotiating skills!"

Sarah − a keen distance runner who has taken on marathons in The Potteries and Glasgow − was part of a HMIC inspection team that visited WMP headquarters in 2015 to assess if the force was offering the public good value for money and effective leadership.

The following year, West Midlands Police was named as one of only two UK forces rated “outstanding" − and it was during the inspection ACC Boycott got a feel for the force

She added: “I remember coming away with a strong feeling that it was an innovative force, embracing technology, and with a positive culture, focused on preventing harm. I thought “I could work there"… and so it’s turned out!

“I was really impressed by the communities I met during my preparation for the role and am looking forward to taking on the local policing portfolio. West Midlands Police has a focus on Intervention and Prevention − stepping in early on to divert potential offenders from trouble and stop people from becoming victims − and it’s a movement I really want to be a part of.

“Throughout my career I’ve been focussed on listening to and understanding communities to bring about improvements to services.

“I’m hugely passionate about local policing… that’s the bedrock of policing. It’s my remit here in the West Midlands; it’s an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to making a difference to local communities."