Iain Simons, Dartmouth Community Sergeant
Iain Simons - Dartmouth Community Sergeant
Iain Simons is a pillar of the community – living alongside the Dart with his wife, Fiona and three boys under the age of 8, he works to ensure that the community he lives in is safe and that the concerns of its members are listened to.
But with significant changes both to both police working practices and the structure of teams over the last few months, has his job become harder?
‘We now have a different structure which separates response from local policing and crime investigation,’ he explains. ‘We all have to take on new roles and responsibilities. I’ve become a supervisor for Neighbourhood Beat Managers around the area and we are putting our time into crime and danger prevention projects in the community.’
The changes in staffing has meant that there is a smaller team at Dartmouth Police Station, but Iain stresses thay they are all dedicated to their community and the importance of their role.
‘We have a local police team made up of truly dedicated individuals who are not only working for the community, they are part of it,’ says Iain. ‘We all love this place as much as the next person and want to be proactive in stopping crime and finding solutions for problems. We are a small team, but we work very hard to make sure we do the job well.’
The Dart community is still a joy to be part of for Iain, who moved to the area in 2003 following a successful career in the Metropolitan Police’s Serious Crime Squad. Once the squad’s youngest member, Iain has dealt with some dramatic and difficult cases. But he wouldn’t swap his life in Devon for a high-powered ‘important’ role in the big city for any amount of money.
‘It’s still a joy to work here,’ he says. ‘Driving to work each day with the view of the river, I always think it can’t be beaten. I’ve enjoyed working here, becoming part of the community, building up respect and local knowledge. I’m always impressed by how much everyone here respects their community and works for it, not against it.’
‘As a team we want to be known well, so that people will come to us and let us know what’s going on. We depend on the community to communicate with us and help us to do our jobs.’
And Iain says that the Dartmouth Police are putting all their efforts into working with the people of the area to make sure the policing works. He says that the Police Liaison Group – volunteers who each month meet with the police team to give feedback and ask questions about policing in Dartmouth – is a great example of this.
‘We are here to listen to people and how they feel they should be policed. We have been working with the Liaison group closely and its contribution can’t be overestimated. I think it’s a very positive sign for the community of Dartmouth that these people volunteer. They want to make sure that they do all they can to make sure that the concerns and issues in the town are brought to our attention.’
‘I think it’s vital that people in the area talk to the members of the Liaison group or talk to me in person. We do respond and want to make sure that we do all we can to ensure safety.’
Local feedback about the changes to police practice has resulted in the proposed visit of the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Stephen Otter, to Dartmouth on November 9, with a view to answering the community’s concerns.
‘This is an example of how much we want to make sure people are reassured and understand the changes we are all going through,’ says Iain. ‘Every Police officer starts in the job because they want to make a positive difference to people’s quality of life. We now have to work together more than we ever have done before to continue to do this effectively - you can always call me on 01803 837308 if you have information or a concern.’
‘We want to work together so we can all feel more secure and safe in our beautiful community.’
First Published November 2011 By The Dart