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

Chief Constable Andy Marsh

Andy Marsh joined Avon and Somerset Police as a new recruit in 1987. From operational and detective policing roles, he worked his way up to the role of Chief Superintendent and BCU Commander firstly for South Bristol and then Somerset East.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police

Andy served as Assistant Chief Constable, first at Wiltshire Police and then at Avon and Somerset Police, before being appointed Deputy Chief Constable then Chief Constable at Hampshire Constabulary. He returned to his home police service as Chief Constable in 2016.

Andy says:

“Welcome to Avon and Somerset Police, a team of over 6,000 people, including police officers, police staff and volunteers. Together we are responsible for ensuring that over 1.6 million people across 2,000 square miles are kept safe – and feel safe.

I feel extremely fortunate to work in a profession that makes a real and positive difference. Each day I hear of inspiring work being done through policing in our communities which positively impact people’s lives.

Each day I also see the commitment delivered by our team to keeping people safe and bringing offenders to justice. I see dedication to supporting victims of crime and protecting the vulnerable. I see a police service that passionately cares about the values we stand for – caring, courageous, inclusive and learning – as well as for each other and for the fine tradition of giving respect to earn respect.

I see a police service that passionately cares about the values we stand for – caring, courageous, inclusive and learning – as well as for each other and for the fine tradition of giving respect to earn respect.

I firmly believe that policing is a vocation to which people are drawn because they want to be the difference in helping to create a better society. Policing is often difficult, dangerous and demanding. Responding to people in their moments of need: the vulnerable, the victims, and the bereaved, as well as dealing with the violent and abuse, is all part of our work, and every day that demands immense moral, ethical and physical courage from our officers.

Our work has become increasingly complex, demanding and ambiguous. Burglaries, robberies and assaults now sit alongside highly-organised, globally-focused and technologically-enabled criminality such as online fraud, modern slavery and major drugs operations.

We have determinedly met these challenges head on, transforming the way we work and equipping our officers and staff with the best technology in the world to enable us to become more agile and advanced in investigating and disrupting crime in this challenging landscape. We have proudly blazed a trail in harnessing technology to support forward-thinking policing and have been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as an outstandingly efficient and effective police force.

We have also been acclaimed as an open, accepting and nurturing employer and are proudly creating a legacy of step-change to encourage ever greater inclusivity and diversity within our workforce. We are everybody’s police and it is essential that we are relevant to, and representative of, all the communities we serve if we are to achieve our mission of providing outstanding policing for all.

Our successes have been earned against a solid backdrop of support and confidence from the public of Avon and Somerset, which we are grateful for and never take for granted. We will continue to work hard to become an ever more open and transparent police service and one of which you can be proud.

We all appreciate there is more to be done in providing the police service we want to give you, to protect our communities and put ourselves on the front foot to fight crime and intervene early to prevent people from the misery of becoming a victim. We greet this new decade in policing with pride in what has already been achieved, and optimism and determination for what we work towards. 

Please stand with us, as we can only succeed if the public want us to win.  With you at our side, we can be our very best.”

Key responsibilities
  • The direction and control of Avon and Somerset Police, in order to provide an effective, efficient and ethical police service.
  • Overall responsibility for public accountability, community safety, police operations, investigations, force intelligence, custody and prosecution, managing and developing people, marketing and communications, health, safety and welfare, finance and resources, information management and technology, personal responsibility, and threat, harm and risk.
  • The fulfilment of all statutory and legal obligations of the Office of Chief Constable.
  • Delivery in line with the mission, vision, values, and priorities as defined in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and in accordance with the Code of Ethics.
  • Representing the best interests of Avon and Somerset in addressing national policing issues.
  • 1987 – Operational and detective roles within Avon and Somerset Police
  • 2001 – Chief Superintendent and Commander for South Bristol and Somerset East
  • 2006 – Assistant Chief Constable at Wiltshire Police
  • 2009 – Assistant Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset Police
  • 2010 – Deputy Chief Constable then Chief Constable at Hampshire Constabulary
  • 2016 – Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset Police
Career highlights and achievements
  • Creating the Major Crime and Specialist Operations service which led to collaborative working and a regional organised crime unit for the South West.
  • Leading Hampshire Constabulary to become the first police service in the country to be personally equipped with Body Worn Video (BWV), then a revolutionary step in British policing. Now most police services in the UK have adopted BWV.
  • Appointed as the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) policing lead for Body Worn Video in 2014. The high spec cameras enable police officers to build trust with the public and deliver a more accurate and verifiable digital record of evidence.
  • Leading change to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) in enabling BWV cameras to be used for interviews, with Avon and Somerset Police being the first to employ technology in this way.
  • Presently developing a business case with the Home Office to allow cameras to be used for taking witness statements.
  • Spearheading a digital mobilisation programme and transforming Avon and Somerset police by equipping officers and staff with the latest technology to do their jobs.
  • Developing an internationally acclaimed approach to data, using advanced predictive analytics and visual graphics to prioritise and manage police demand and aid decision-making.
  • National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for International Co-ordination. Responsible for launching the Joint International Policing Hub bringing together UK policing partners to carry forward an international police assistance agenda for the UK. This involves co-operating on capability and capacity building with global law enforcement agencies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the United States of America and other areas of the world.
  • Working with the Police and Crime Commissioner to publish The Tipping Point, a detailed analysis of demand, finance and workforce wellbeing, which has helped inform and change the national debate on police funding.
  • Increasing understanding of the real value of being inclusive and the role that individuals can play, by creating a “Be the Difference” video featuring the honest feelings of people who work within Avon and Somerset Police. The video has been praised internally for its impact, been used externally to show our commitment to being inclusive to our communities and picked up by other forces and partners as an impressive example to follow.
  • Strategic lead for promoting racial equality within Avon and Somerset Police, looking at the issues impacting people at work with the aim of creating an inclusive environment where people of all races and ethnicities can contribute and flourish.
Qualifications, awards and recognition
  • In 2018, Andy was presented with the prestigious Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) which is awarded to police officers in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations for gallantry or distinguished service. This was in recognition of Andy’s leadership of two forces, the nationally leading role he has taken on BWV, shotguns, explosive and firearms licensing and his work to coordinate international deployments to support the rule of law globally.
  • Andy was also recognised by Women of the Future in 2018 appearing on its list of 50 ‘Kind Leaders’. He received the accolade for his ‘passion for empowerment, development, relationship building and honesty’.
Personal life
  • Andy is married with two daughters.
  • He enjoys fly fishing, running and rowing, and is a dedicated football fan.
  • He was a rowing silver medal winner in the Barcelona 2003 World Police and Fire Games and a bronze medal winner in the Belfast 2013 World Police and Fire Games.
  • In 2018 he completed a 15,000ft parachute jump to raise money for the national UK Police Memorial.
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