Thames Valley Police working hard to rebuild public trust, says Chief Constable

  • ITV News Meridian reporter Ciaran Fitzpatrick spoke to Chief Constable Jason Hogg in a wide ranging interview about his first full year in the job

The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police says high profile cases like the murder of Sarah Everard has inevitably damaged confidence in policing.

In England, just 4 in 10 people say they can rely on officers to do their job, but it is higher in the Thames Valley with 60% surveyed trusting them.

Jason Hogg, who has been running the force for over a year, says he is working hard to rebuild trust in the region's officers.

"There is no doubt that when a high profile incident happens anywhere in the country, it affects how people see the police here in the Thames Valley," said Hogg. "People don't see the boundaries of police forces."

He has set out a vision for the police force to be 'excellent', and is working with a private sector organisation to ensure that happens.

Jason Hogg has been Chief Constable for over a year and says he is working hard to rebuild trust in Thames Valley Police Credit: Thames Valley Police

"We will focus our attention on improving trust and confidence every year, because if people don't trust the police, they won't report crime, provide statements or stand up in court."

It comes as 2023-24 statistics have been released by the force. Hogg has praised the progress on knife crime and sexual violence.

Knife crime is down 11% which the Chief Constable says is because of their continued use of the 'controversial' stop and search methods as well as early prevention.

Rape charges are up 17% and other sexual offences are up 13% on the year before. Hogg says driving down violence against women and girls has been a huge priority and he's really proud of the work being done in that area.

Overall arrests have also risen by 6% highlighting what they say is a tougher approach to crime.

Over 33,000 arrests were made in 2023/24 in the Thames Valley Credit: ITV Meridian

The Chief Constable said there could be a "real risk across the country" that police officers "don't have confidence to use their powers."

He said many of his officers report that the public record their interactions with officers on their mobile phones, particularly in "polarised" debates. But he said officers do have confidence to use their powers.

"We are an outlier that 'stop and search' continues to rise in the Thames Valley," said Hogg. "It gives confidence to me that officers do feel they are supported."

Drug trafficking is up a quarter on last year. 1671 incidents were recorded in the past year, with Jason Hogg saying he is 'reassured about drug crime trafficking' having taken over 150 guns off the streets - more than ever before.

However he has admitted he must do more to diversify his force. As of March 2024, 48% of his staff is female but only 5% overall are from ethnic minority communities - versus a population of around 14%.

"We are getting better but it takes a long time. If we want to improve confidence with our local communities, people need to look at the police and see 'those people look like me' and feel represented."

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