New divisional commander will oversee policing across Lancaster district and beyond
A new divisional commander has been appointed in Lancashire Constabulary’s West Division, leading policing in Lancaster, Morecambe, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.
Chief Supt Karen Edwards, who has 26 years’ service with Lancashire Constabulary, took up the post in September after a competitive process.
Chief Supt Edwards said: “It is a privilege to lead policing in Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe. It is a diverse area to police with busy tourist destinations, vast rural areas and some areas of deprivation too.
“My priorities are to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and to protect and build trust within the communities of West Division.
"I expect my officers to carry out more proactive work focusing on burglary, robbery and anti-social behaviour. I’m passionate about seeking longer term solutions to all policing issues and will work closely with partner agencies to agree joint outcomes to deliver services that best meet the needs of our communities.
“Residents in the area can be reassured that I am committed to keeping people safe and working alongside them to address the issues that matter most to them.
"I will not tolerate criminality or anti-social behaviour and will work with the community to bring to justice those individuals who insist on causing harm to good law-abiding citizens.
“I will support my officers and staff to ensure they have the skills, confidence and equipment to carry out this challenging and complex job, ensuring they strive to provide the best quality of service to members of the public.
“I want to engage with the communities across my division and encourage residents to complete the Lancashire Talking survey, which can be accessed via the Lancashire Constabulary website.
"Tell us your views and concerns around crime and disorder in your local area and I will use this information, alongside crime data and intelligence, to ensure I make the best use of my resources to meet the needs of communities.”
Chief Supt Edwards started her career with Lancashire Constabulary in 1995 as a PC on foot patrol in Skelmersdale. Since then she has carried out various roles across the force, including six years as the operations manager in the force’s South Division, where she gained significant command experience.
Previously a medical research biochemist, Chief Supt Edwards says she joined the police because she had “a deep desire to protect vulnerable people”.
Originally from Lancashire, she spent much of her childhood years in Hong Kong and India, before returning to the county where she now lives with her partner and three children.
The position of divisional commander is not an entirely new one. Each policing area used to have its own divisional commander prior to a restructure in 2016 which saw a move to more thematic, centralised leadership.
The reintroduction of the role, which will improve accountability and delivery of local policing services, follows a review of structures, which included seeking the views of officers, staff and partner agencies, who felt that local commanders were needed to enhance service delivery, particularly partnership working.
Andrew Snowden, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “This is an example of what I have been pushing for, ensuring that local policing has the ability to focus on issues that matter most to people, where they live.
"I’m pleased that the Chief Constable is strengthening the ability of each policing division to tackle the unique challenges within their areas and help address local concerns.
“With hundreds of new police officers being recruited and getting out onto our streets to keep people safe, the reintroduction of divisional commanders will ensure accountability against what the Chief Constable and myself want to see, which is criminals off our streets, and the people of Lancashire feeling safer.”