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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen

Steve’s policing career began with West Mercia Police in 1992. He joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2017 and is the Assistant Chief Constable for Neighbourhood, Partnerships and Response.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen, Avon and Somerset Police

Steve is with responsible for public-facing policing, dealing with everyone from the most vulnerable to the most violent in our communities.

Steve says:

“I have always felt it a huge honour to be a police officer – to be an ordinary person who has the good fortune to have an extraordinary job.

Policing is a unique profession which affords us the opportunity to meet an amazing array of people and experience human behaviour in all its forms and circumstances.

Those meetings can often happen when people are at their lowest or most vulnerable point. 

“People turn to us and trust us to “do the right thing”. They give us access to their lives – and the permission to impact on them.”

That public consent and legitimacy is never taken for granted. It helps drive our desire to deliver outstanding policing for everyone. This includes supporting those who have been disadvantaged in life, perhaps through a lack of support, influence or connections.

Policing is about strong moral values and putting the public first. So I am immensely proud of the part I play in training, encouraging and supporting police officers, and guiding, mentoring and developing future police leaders. 

By passing on learnings and experience I can help ensure that those who follow in our footsteps are as equally passionate about our all-important mission here at Avon and Somerset Police – to serve, protect and respect.”

Key responsibilities
  • Responsible for the delivery two policing directorates of approximately 3000 employees and 700 volunteers.
  • Strategic lead for data quality, counter-terrorism, serious violence, independent advisory groups (IAGs), reducing reoffending and safeguarding.
  • Strategic lead for the implementation and development of Operation Remedy and reducing Serious Violence (Operation Remedy’s work includes solving more crimes and bringing more offenders to justice through focus on intelligence, prevention and enforcement activities.  They work, for example, on reducing the numbers of burglary offences in people’s homes and increasing disruptions of Organised Crime Groups involved in the illegal supply of controlled drugs).
  • Co-Chair of Strategic MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement) Board responsible for the oversight and management of the highest risk offenders and the safeguarding of the most vulnerable.
  • South West Regional Lead for Neighbourhood Policing, Children and Young Persons, Citizens in Policing, Problem Solving and Crime Prevention, MAPPA and Victims and Witnesses.
  • Strategic Commander for high-profile, high-risk events including Glastonbury Festival, St. Paul’s Carnival and Bristol Pride.
  • Force diversity champion with specific leadership responsibility for LGBT+; developing policies, supporting our employee network and working towards becoming a Stonewall accredited Top 100 organisation.
  • National mentor providing support for future leaders from under-represented groups.
  • Syndicate Director for Strategic Command Course: guiding, mentoring, developing and supporting officers in enhancing their skills with the aim of being appointed to Chief Officer roles across the UK.
  • Working within a political sensitive context, in collaboration with key stakeholders including the Home Office, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Independent Advisory Groups and scrutiny panels, local authorities, other emergency services and the private and third sectors.
  • Recognising the importance of performance and good governance and delivering HMICFRS Inspection regimes, Home Office strategic objectives and the local Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.
  • 1992 – Joined as a Police Constable with West Mercia Police
  • 1999 – Promoted to Senior Investigating Officer
  • 2006 – Promoted to Superintendent
  • 2014 – Promoted to Chief Superintendent
  • 2016 – Promoted to Temporary Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) for Protective Services at West Mercia and Warwickshire Police
  • 2016 – Completed the Police National Assessment Centre (PNAC) for Chief Officer
  • 2017 – Graduated from the Strategic Command Course (SCC).
  • 2017 – Head of Operations ACC at West Mercia and Warwickshire Police
  • 2017 – ACC for Neighbourhood, Partnerships and Response at Avon and Somerset Constabulary
  • 2017 – Nationally Accredited Strategic Public Order Commander
  • 2017 – Nationally Accredited Strategic Firearms Commander
  • 2017 – Nationally Accredited Authorising Officer for Covert Policing
  • 2018 – National Accredited Trained Assessor for Senior Selection
  • 2020 – Syndicate Director for the Strategic Command Course
Career highlights and achievements
  • Dedication of resources to areas of highest harm and as a result, managing and containing critical incidents which would have otherwise adversely affected the public and public confidence.
  • Leading one of the very first investigations in the country into Child Sex Exploitation, when this was still an emerging crime. Despite the challenges of investigating offences of which there was little previous knowledge or understanding, the team was able to support many young victims and bring nine serious offenders to justice.
  • Leading multiple major and serious crime investigations.
  • Senior key roles in protecting vulnerable people.
  • Implementing and developing five multi-agency Violent Reduction Units across Avon and Somerset adopting a ‘public health’ approach (identifying causes and finding interventions that work to prevent it spreading) to reducing violent crime.
  • Completing a strategic review of serious and organised crime whilst on secondment with West Midlands Police.
  • Leading the local policing change programme that supported the strategic alliance between the Warwickshire and West Mercia Police services.
  • Prioritising community engagement within Neighbourhood Policing at Avon and Somerset Constabulary and working to ensure this is delivered by a more representative workforce. This has included the recruitment of an Inclusion and Diversity team to represent many of the different communities from within Avon and Somerset, who are helping us identify and breakdown the barriers that may be preventing people from under-represented communities from joining the police service.
  • Achieving the National Equality Standard and a ranking for the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
  • Overseeing the development of our schools engagement offer to children and young people.
  • Key part of an Executive Team which, adopting an approach based on our force values of caring, courageous, inclusion and learning, has achieved outstanding outcomes in a staff survey, particularly around inclusion, fairness, morale and job satisfaction.
  • Supporting and encouraging hundreds of officers to be the best that they can be and being part of the selection team choosing the policing leaders of tomorrow.
Personal life
  • Steve is a father of two, with interests ranging from current affairs to music.
  • He is a keen sportsperson with a particular interest in football, swimming and cycling.
  • Steve has taken part in the New York and London marathons, the latter fundraising for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).
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