Falklands Police Chief reviews first 5 months in the job
It is now five months since Gary Finchett took up post as Chief Police Officer in the Falklands. Mr Finchett is also the Falkland Islands Government™s Director of Community Safety, with responsibility for the overall direction of the Royal Falkland Islands Police, the Customs & Immigration Service, the Fire & Rescue Service and the Falkland Islands Defence Force. He holds the statutory roles of Principal Immigration Officer and Officer in charge of Stanley Prison. The primary purpose of these combined services is to ensure the continuing safety of the people who live in, work in and visit the Falklands Islands.
Prior to joining the Falklands Islands Government Mr Finchett served for 31 years as a police officer in the Cheshire Constabulary in the UK. He rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent as Area Commander for Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn. Mr Finchett said he was attracted to the newly-created position of Director of Community Safety by the diversity of the role, and he saw opportunities for the various services to work even closer together and make them more effective under a single directorate.
Mr Finchett noted: œAlready, Heads of Service have found substantial efficiency savings without reducing the level of service provided to the public and this work needs to continue to ensure were are as effective as we can be, bearing in mind public finances are extremely tight.
On his impressions of the Falklands, Mr Finchett commented: œI was also enticed by the thought of working in such a special place with its unique history, unparalleled scenery and diverse wildlife. You can see why so many people choose to live, visit and work in these wonderful Islands. My initial views of the Falkland Islands after 5 months here is that it is a spectacular and fascinating place. There is, literally, nowhere else like it on earth. People are extremely resilient, self sufficient and look out for each other here.
Focusing on policing issues, Mr Finchett said: œPeople here feel safe and have every right to do so as serious crime is very rare and with the support of the community we identify and deal with offenders quickly. However, there can be no room for complacency regarding community safety and my priorities for the police include increasing public confidence in the service, responding effectively to people when they are in need, preventing and investigating crime and disorder, protecting vulnerable people and effectively managing serious incidents. Police officers will specifically be concentrating on reducing the number of serious and fatal road traffic collisions, reducing crime and repeat incidents of anti-social behaviour and increasing the volume of crimes detected.
The public are urged by Mr Finchett to help the police and other emergency services to make the Falkland Islands even safer by reporting crime and suspicious incidents, and by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and that of others. This includes driving at slower speeds and wearing a seatbelt at all times, enjoying alcohol responsibly, letting someone know when travelling in remote areas, and carrying some means of communication where practicable.
The Hon Gavin Short, MLA, who has portfolio responsibility for the various departments within the Community Safety portfolio, said: œIn his own very quiet way Gary has transformed the Royal Falkland Islands Police into a happy and fully-functioning unit which is visible and approachable. I am also very impressed at how quickly Gary has got a handle on the functioning of the other three departments for which he has responsibility, although I am pleased to say that in each case he has been fortunate to take on well run departments headed by dedicated staff.
In a message aimed at the rural population in The Wool Press, the monthly magazine published by the Department of Agriculture, Mr Finchett said that he will be continuing his visits to isolated settlements and would be interested to hear everyone™s views œon what we can do together to make the Falkland Islands even safer.
Outside work, Mr Finchett who lives in East Stanley with his partner Alison “ a nurse, enjoys walking their two dogs, music, photography and visiting Camp. He is a keen motorcyclist having ridden across most of Europe and also to the Arctic Circle in aid of Hope House Children™s Hospices in the UK which he describes as a œfantastic experience.
For more information please contact Claudette Prior, Media Liaison Office, Falkland Islands Government at tel. +500 27451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.