Chief Constable Sarah Crew
Sarah became an officer with Avon and Somerset Police in September 1994 and took on the role of Deputy Chief Constable in June 2017. In November 2021, she became our first female Chief Constable.
Sarah has undertaken a wide variety of roles during her career with Avon and Somerset Police, both in uniform and as a detective. Previously, she has held the roles of Head of Investigations in Bristol, South Gloucestershire Area Commander, and as programme director for Force Reorganisation.
Sarah was pivotal in the launch of Operation Soteria Bluestone, a transformative programme which sees police professionals work alongside leading UK academics to change the police response to rape and sexual assault. Nationally, she is the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) national lead for Rape and Adult Sexual Offences (RASSO) in the current cross-Government review of the way the criminal justice system responds to rape.
As Chief Constable, Sarah has placed rebuilding public trust and confidence at the top of her agenda with Avon and Somerset’s corporate vision of delivering “Outstanding Policing for Everyone”. Her key objectives to achieving this vision include a relentless focus on the perpetrators of crime; openness to scrutiny; and a move towards becoming a trauma-informed organisation.
She continues to lead on the delivery of Avon and Somerset Police’s Inclusion and Diversity Strategy (2019-2024) and the organisation’s ambition to become the most inclusive police force in the UK, by building a representative workforce where difference is valued, and people thrive.
“My drive for fairness and equality lies at the heart of my passion for policing.
“I have always been determined to stand up for the underdog and against the bully, and policing seemed to me to offer the greatest opportunity to help people directly on a personal, practical and human level. It’s also important to me to be part of a team with the same clear mission and values.
“I believe policing is about helping to create the conditions that help people and their communities to thrive and make life choices and opportunities better for everyone.
“I know policing cannot do this alone, but it certainly has a role to play in establishing safety, confronting those who threaten that safety and standing up for those within our communities who are less fortunate, less equipped or have a quieter voice.”
- The NPCC’s national lead and Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for response to adult sexual offences.
- Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for inclusion and diversity and responsible for rolling out the force’s proactive Inclusion and Diversity Strategy.
- Chair of the Anti-Slavery Partnership, which aims to find and support victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, disrupt criminal activity and prosecute those responsible.
- 1994 – Uniform and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) roles within Avon and Somerset Police including Sergeant and Inspector
- 2003 – Detective Inspector in charge of CID, central Bristol
- 2005 – Detective Chief Inspector at Avon and Somerset Police
- 2006 – Head of Avon and Somerset Police’s Intelligence Bureau
- 2009 – Detective Superintendent in charge of Bristol CID
- 2011 – Chief Superintendent at Avon and Somerset Police and Commander of the South Gloucestershire policing area.
- 2013 – Programme Director and lead for Force Reorganisation at Avon and Somerset Police
- 2017 – Deputy Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset Police
- 2021 – Chief Constable at Avon and Somerset Police
Career highlights and achievements
- Leading on delivery of Avon and Somerset Police’s Inclusion and Diversity Strategy (2019-2024) and the organisation’s ambition to become the most inclusive in the UK.
- Representing policing, as the NPCC’s national lead for RASSO in the current cross-Government review of the way the criminal justice system responds to rape.
- At the helm of Operation Bluestone – a transformative programme which has seen police professionals work alongside leading UK academics to change the police response to rape and sexual assault.
- Delivering, with partners, The Bridge Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Bristol, which provides medical care, emotional and psychological support and practical help to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.
- Developing, with partners, the SafeLink service, providing specialist support for victims of rape and sexual abuse.
- Leading a major transformational change programme for Avon and Somerset Police (2013-2015) aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency whilst increasing service, standards and quality to the public. Savings of £9.9 million were secured by 2016/17 with strong foundations created to support the organisation’s future vision. Avon and Somerset Police rated Outstanding in understanding demand (2017 PEEL report, which is an annual assessment of police services).
- Managing an ambitious £12 million technology programme to modernise the way Avon and Somerset Police officers work, with the introduction of over 3,000 body worn video (BWV) cameras, 3,500 laptops, 6,000 mobile phones and wi-fi enablement in police cars. Officers can now work faster and with greater efficiency, spending more time on the streets and moving more rapidly between jobs.
- Senior investigating officer in a range of major criminal investigations.
- Chief officer lead for age with responsibility for ensuring that everyone who joins the organisation, irrespective of age, has every opportunity to fulfil their potential.
- In 2022, becoming Avon and Somerset Police’s first-ever female Chief Constable.
Qualifications, awards and recognition
- Honours Degree in Classics – Magdalen College, Oxford
- Public Order Gold* Commander
- Strategic Firearms Gold Commander
- Civil Contingencies Gold Commander
- Awarded a Queens Police Medal in 2022, in recognition of her commitment and dedication to improving the policing response to RASSO
- 2023 National Black Police Association Ally of the Year
*Gold = with overall strategic command of operations
- Sarah is a primary carer for her elderly parents.
- In her spare time, Sarah enjoys keeping active by taking her Parson Russell terrier, Bruce, on strenuous walks.
- Sarah became Chair of the Trustees of The Wheels Project in 2015, which centres on crime prevention and offers life skills and practical training for teenagers at risk of social exclusion, who may be struggling with academic studies or have low attendance levels.