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Alumni Spotlight, Inspector Oliver Charter: Piloting crime reduction initiatives in Wellingborough

Piloting crime reduction initiatives in Wellingborough

Alumni Spotlight: Inspector Oliver Charter

Wednesday 28th February 2024

Police Inspector Oliver Charter joined Northamptonshire Police in 2016 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme, starting his career as a neighbourhood officer in Wellingborough. Here he helped pilot the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), using early intervention work to reduce and prevent crime. Thanks to the pilot’s success, Oliver worked alongside inspectors to support the expansion of CIRV across the whole of Northamptonshire and share learning nationally.

He has since worked on Northampton’s Response unit and completed further training as a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator, Public Order Commander, Force Control Room Tactical Firearms Commander, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Bronze Commander.

Now an inspector himself in the Force Control Room, he reflects back on his career so far and gives us an insight into life on the frontline in this month’s Alumni Spotlight.

Inspector Oliver Charter

“I joined Northamptonshire Police via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in 2016, beginning my policing career as a neighbourhood officer in Wellingborough. I had always known I wanted to be in a public facing role where I could make a difference to people’s lives and, having studied Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Nottingham, I had originally planned to go into medicine. However, after some experience as a Special Constable alongside my studies, I realised how rewarding policing could be and decided to join Police Now’s graduate programme.

“I was posted to Wellingborough, which at the time was one of the top 10 most deprived areas in the region. This meant that the work was tough but the exposure I got to a variety of different incidents and crimes provided me with an excellent grounding in frontline policing. My day-to-day was varied as I worked across warrants, anti-social behaviour, drug-related criminality and violence.

“What I found really interested me was early intervention and prevention work; looking at the root causes of people’s offending and finding ways to divert them away from crime or repeat offending. At the time, an initiative called ‘CIRV’ (Community Initiative to Reduce Violence) was being piloted in Wellingborough, bringing local partners together to look at how we could utilise early intervention methods to reduce violence and crime. I joined the pilot team and alongside partner agencies, we identified people who would benefit from intervention – from drug dealers and gang members to those on the periphery. Together, we looked at their circumstances and decided which local agency would be best placed to support them away from criminality. This involved true multi-agency work with local charities, businesses, local councils and specialist police officers, with actions ranging from drug rehabilitation referrals, supporting people out of unemployment with local business partnerships, traditional police enforcement, housing support, lived experience mentoring and life coaching.

“To measure the success of the pilot group, we looked at their offending rates in the six months before engaging with CIRV vs the six months after. We saw very encouraging results, with a 50% reduction in victimisation, a 47% reduction in offending and a 37% reduction in domestic incidents occurring within their households. We also saw a 22% increase in intelligence due to the increased levels of trust between the CIRV participants and their Navigator (assigned police officer).

“After I completed Police Now’s two-year programme, I moved into the Integrated Offender Management unit as an Enforcement Police Constable. Shortly after, I began an acting sergeant role within the unit, alongside a long-term counter terrorist operation. I also worked with the inspector to support the expansion of CIRV to cover the whole of Northamptonshire and share results and learning nationally.

“I then moved to Northampton’s Response unit – the force’s largest borough – as a temporary sergeant. I led a large team of police constables alongside the other team sergeants and learned a huge amount about crime investigation, welfare support and operational policing. I enjoyed the variety the role entailed and always took the chance to join officers on patrol to lead from the front and support decision making. I remained in this post for around 18 months and became a substantive sergeant there, before moving back into CIRV in 2021 to continue the work in the early intervention arena. In 2022 I sat my inspector’s exam and boards before passing and being substantively promoted to the Force Control Room, which is my current posting.

“I have been fortunate enough to complete some incredible training courses during my career so far, which have prepared me well for my current role. Police Now’s programme gave me the grounding needed to be an operationally competent officer, and I have since trained as a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator, Public Order Commander, Force Control Room Tactical Firearms Commander, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Bronze Commander.

“Being a negotiator is probably the highlight and what I enjoy most – to get the opportunity to deploy to people who are genuinely in crisis and do everything I can to help is massively satisfying. There is no greater feeling than making a difference and that’s what policing is all about.

“I started out as a neighbourhood police officer and when I reflect back on the last seven years of my career, all I can say is that the variety in policing is huge. If you take the opportunities that are presented to you, there are so many areas of policing to branch in to and so many different ways you can make a positive impact on people’s lives and on society.”

Inspector Oliver Charter is wearing a jumpsuit and standing in front of a police helicopter inside an aircraft hangar. On the wall behind, the East Midlands Air Support Unit logo can be seen.
Inspector Oliver Charter

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