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A focus on tackling vehicle crime and residential burglaries will be among the priorities for the new area commander of South Staffordshire.
Chief Inspector Simon O’Donnell has worked in the south of the county for all of his career, having started his service as a neighbourhood officer in Penkridge and Wheaton Aston in the 1990s.
His other stints in the south of the county include working as a neighbourhood sergeant in Lichfield, a custody supervisor at Watling Street and a response inspector for Trent Valley.
Simon joined Staffordshire Police in his early twenties, having worked in the newspaper industry in Tamworth after leaving school, and has clocked up over 26 years in uniform with Staffordshire Police.
He says the job has changed a great deal in that time with much more focus on the needs of victims and better training in place for officers.
“It used to be that officers were given law training and of course we still are, but we have to specialise in so many areas now. We focus more on the needs of victims and witnesses and we take into account safeguarding and receive input to understand mental health, for example.”
Simon wants to prioritise dealing with residential burglaries and tackling vehicle crime, including theft of cars and theft from cars. He says he will be working closely with colleagues from West Midlands Police in Wolverhampton and Walsall and officers from West Mercia Police.
“I’ll be focusing on partnership working and working closely with colleagues from specials and Central Motorways Policing Group (CMPG) to tackle cross border crime.”
Simon joins South Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) from a role as staff officer at HQ. He takes over from Chief Inspector Mark Ward who is transferring to a role in learning and development.
“I’m looking forward to using my local knowledge and the experience I’ve gained of national policing and policy and the direction the force is taking gained during my time at HQ. South Staffordshire is a great area to work in and I’m excited about getting out and about and meeting people.
“There are challenges as it’s a huge patch to cover, stretching from Kinver to Penkridge, and I have to ensure visibility, that we are there to respond to incidents and reassure our community. I’m here to listen and will be getting out frequently to understand how I can build on the good work Mark has done.”