New Stevenage police chief gunning for career criminals

The new chief inspector for Stevenage will “attack” career criminals who make others’ lives a misery in the town.

Richard Harbon, a Herts police officer for 26 years who took up the post last week, said he will target known criminals in an effort to make people feel safer in the town.

“We have a 48 per cent detection rate in Stevenage. The positive on that is that we are solving half the crimes. But I can do better than that. I know Stevenage really well. I know the way criminality works in Stevenage. Crime is very internal and my team know the criminals.”

Another area of focus will be violence in the home.

“Stevenage has got an issue with domestic violence. I believe there are ways to address this.

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“We have an excellent relationship with the borough council and the emergency services and I will build on that.

“My number one priority is to make people feel safer by reducing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

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Crucial to that aim is officers on the street, talking to people in a friendly manner, he added. A plan is also in place to put officers out on bicycles on Saturday nights.

As well as raising detection rates, Chief Insp Harbon said he will focus on preventing crime by tracking and assisting offenders on release from prison and a through a campaign urging people to make their property safe.

“We will apply pressure to reduce the amount of crime and then we won’t have to detect it,” he said. “We want to make it really hard for criminals. If you’ve got a mobile phone, keep it safe. It you’ve got a home make it secure.”

He said since he was an officer in the town 15 years ago, things have improved with a three-quarter reduction in burglary - “we have less than one dwelling burglary a day” - and better relations with pubs and clubs.

“I want to continue that positive difference in my last four years,” he added.

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