Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

South Wales Police chief's first day in post

Chief Constable Peter Vaughan, South Wales Police
Peter Vaughan began police life as a beat bobby in Rhondda, rising through the ranks to become the new Chief Constable

The new chief constable of the South Wales Police force is starting his first day in the role.

Peter Vaughan succeeds Barbara Wilding, who became Britain's longest serving female chief constable.

In her time in the post Mrs Wilding was critical of the funding her force received and halted routine patrols on the M4 motorway in response.

Taking up his new role, Chief Constable Vaughan said raising public confidence in the police was a priority.

"Our future success will not simply depend upon us improving our crime performance," insisted the new chief constable.

"Just as important will be the way people feel they have been treated by us and how well they feel we understand and address the issues that are most important to them.

My commitment is to develop our work with the public and to raise the satisfaction and confidence people have in our force
New South Wales Chief Constable Peter Vaughan

"I am immensely proud to lead a police force that I know can make a real difference to the communities it serves."

Mr Vaughan joined South Wales Police in 1984, serving in each area of the force, across a wide range of duties, including uniformed patrol, custody, firearms and roads policing.

He was made a superintendent in 1997 and was divisional commander for Merthyr Tydfil, before being promoted to the rank of chief superintendent and becoming divisional commander for Rhondda Cynon Taf.

In 2003, he joined Wiltshire Police as assistant chief constable, before returning to the south Wales force in 2007, when he became Barbara Wilding's deputy.

Barbara Wilding
Barbara Wilding led the force from 2004

Now 47-years-old, Mr Vaughan said: "I started with the force in 1984 as a police constable on the beat in the Rhondda.

"Back then I was happy to serve my local community and being chief constable was the furthest thing in my mind."

Retiring from her post, Mrs Wilding said she had "no regrets" about her time in the job.

But she admitted that there had been difficult times to deal with, including the spate of suicides of young people in the Bridgend area.

However, one of her biggest challenges has been balancing the books for the force, and she had been critical of some of the decisions on funding levels for her officers.

In February, she warned that the south Wales force was facing a £9m funding gap, and one measure in response was to halt routine patrols on the M4 motorway.

"We have to say it as it is, and make sure that the public are aware of our professional assessment of what we can deliver," she said in a recent interview ahead of her retirement.

"In relation to the M4, as our finances get more and more reduced, there are things you have to say we have to stop doing, the things we are not mandated to do under legislation, and that was one of them."

Mr Vaughan said he was looking forward to his role.

"I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be leading South Wales Police into the new decade," he added.

"It is an excellent organisation and I think we can are capable of achieving even more.

"My commitment is to develop our work with the public and to raise the satisfaction and confidence people have in our force."



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SEE ALSO
'No regrets' for chief constable
23 Dec 09 |  Wales
New deputy chief constable named
18 Dec 09 |  South West Wales
South Wales Police name new chief
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