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Chief Constables

Discover our Chief Constables from 1851 to the present day.

The Surrey Constabulary became operational in 1851 following the start of an amalgamation of operations formed in Guildford, Godalming and Reigate. Below are details of the Chief Constables who lead and shaped operations for Surrey Constabulary, which was renamed as Surrey Police in 1993.

2012 – 2015 Chief Constable Lynne Owens

Chief Constable Lynne Owens, QPMLynne Owens was appointed Surrey’s first female chief constable in February 2012. Owens began her police career in the Metropolitan Police Service, before serving as a senior investigating officer with Kent Police. She transferred to Surrey Police in 2002 where she served as a divisional commander and then temporary assistant chief constable. She transferred back to the Metropolitan Police in 2009 where she took up the post of assistant commissioner a year later.

During her time as Chief Constable, Owens had overall accountability for the Force's performance and was responsible for the Force's direction and leadership, stakeholder relations and political engagement. She was awarded the Queens Police Medal for distinguished service in the New Year Honours (2008) and in June 2015 was appointed CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to policing.

2009 – 2011: Chief Constable Mark Rowley

Chief Constable Mark RowleyIn March 2009 Mark Rowley was appointed chief constable for Surrey, a position he had been temporarily serving since March 2008.
Rowley began his police career as a constable in the West Midlands in 1987. He moved to the National Criminal Intelligence Service as a detective superintendent, where he led the national development of covert techniques to combat organised crime and a key member of the team that compiled the National Intelligence Model.

On transferring to Surrey Police in 2000 as chief superintendent in the West Surrey division, he oversaw major crime reductions and led several countrywide initiatives. In November 2003 Rowley was appointed assistant chief constable for Surrey where his responsibilities included local policing, crime reduction and criminal justice.

2004 – 2008: Chief Constable Robert Quick, QPM MBA

Chief Constable Bob QuickIn November 2004 Robert Quick former deputy chief constable for Surrey, became chief constable aged 45.
Quick began his police career in the Metropolitan Police in 1978 and rose through the ranks to commander ‘Crime’ for territorial policing in London. As an experienced detective officer in 2002 he led the metropolitan police ‘operation safer streets’ campaign against street robbery. He was appointed deputy chief constable of Surrey in January 2003.

Having only served in Surrey for two years he had already made an impact by finalising the investigations with Deepcut Barracks and by introducing and enhanced performance management process.

2000 - 2004: Chief Constable Denis O'Connor, CBE QPM

Chief Constable Denis O'ConnorIn April 2000 Denis O’Connor former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, took up the post of chief constable aged 50.
During his tenure, Surrey Police pioneered many of the new aspects of Police Reform, and in particular was the lead force in developing the reassurance model of policing. He was responsible for the introduction of an innovative package of benefits to stem the number of officers leaving the Force due to the high cost of living in Surrey.

1998 - 2000: Chief Constable Ian Blair

Chief Constable Ian BlairIn January 1998, Ian Blair aged 44, previously of Thames Valley Police, was appointed chief constable. Blair held the position of chief constable for the shortest period in Surrey’s history. He also introduced the strategy ‘With you, making Surrey safer’- A policing style of local officers working in partnership with local people, to solve local problems.
Blair was instrumental in the discussions and implementations of the boundary change in 2000 with Surrey policing to include the Boroughs of Epsom & Ewell, Spelthorne and remaining areas of Reigate & Banstead and Elmbridge.

1991 - 1998: Chief Constable David Williams, QPM LLB Barrister

Chief Constable David WilliamsIn May 1991, David Williams aged 50, previously deputy chief constable of Surrey, became chief constable.
Williams was challenged with implementing the recommendations made by Sir Patrick Sheehy who reviewed the rank structure, remuneration and conditions of service for officers. It was in January 1993 the force ceased to be called the Surrey Constabulary and was renamed Surrey Police.

1982 - 1991: Chief Constable Brian Hayes, QPM BA

Chief Constable Brian HayesIn December 1982, Brian Hayes aged 42 was appointed chief constable. Hayes had previously been deputy chief constable of Wiltshire Constabulary and assistant chief constable in Surrey.
Hayes introduced significant changes to the fields of management, operational deployment and technology. His concept of ‘total geography policing’ also meant officers had ownership of specific areas. He also reviewed certain roles within the force which subsequently opened up to civilians releasing police officers to other duties.

1968 - 1982: Chief Constable Sir Peter Matthews, CVO OBE QPM DL

Chief Constable MatthewsIn April 1968 Peter Matthews aged 51 and former chief constable of Suffolk Police, became chief constable.
During Matthew’s tenure he oversaw several major incidents including severe floods in 1968, air crashes in 1969, 1972 and 1975, bombings in Guildford in 1974 and in Caterham in 1975 as well as an outbreak of rabies in 1968. Matthews was a champion for raising the challenge of police recruitment and retention in the region.

1956 - 1968: Chief Constable Herman Rutherford, CBE

Chief Constable RutherfordIn May 1956 Herman Rutherford aged 48 and former head of Lincolnshire Constabulary, was appointed chief constable.
Rutherford managed the changes required following the introduction of the Police Act 1964, which reformed many older structures and practices. With the changes being implemented there was a requirement for greater emphasis on training. During Rutherford’s tenure the first female cadets were also recruited, positions which had previously been restricted to young men.

1946 - 1956: Chief Constable Sir Joseph Simpson, OBE

Chief Constable SimpsonIn December 1946, Joseph Simpson aged 37 was appointed chief constable. He had started his career with the Metropolitan Police and was previously the chief constable of Northumberland.
Simpson oversaw Guildford and Reigate finally merge into the Surrey Constabulary following the effect of the Police Act 1946 with some parishes reassigned to the Metropolitan Police. The formal merger took place 1 July 1947 and included providing identical uniforms throughout the Force.

1930 - 1946: Chief Constable Major Geoffrey Nicholson, CBE MC

Chief Constable Geoffrey NicholsonIn December 1930, Major Geoffrey Nicholson took up his appointment as chief constable. The former assistance chief constable of Hampshire, was 35 years old and had enjoyed a distinguished career in the army.
He brought with him fresh ideas and one of his mottos ‘try anything once’. He started by ordering that every complaint of an indictable crime was to be reported directly to him and he read every report without exception. He analysed reports and revealed connections of crimes resulting in investigation teams being set up, forming the start of Surreys CID.

1899 - 1930: Chief Constable Captain M L Sant

Chief Constable SantIn September 1899, Captain Sant was appointed chief constable. He was 36 years old, had served in the Northumberland Fusiliers and been chief constable of Northumberland. The Force now consisted of 231 men.
During the first years of Sant's tenure he focused on two key areas relating to the continual pressure for improvements in pay and conditions of his men and the campaign to curb and manage the challenges faced by motorist and their impact on residents in Surrey.

1851 - 1899: Chief Constable Captain Hastings

Chief Constable HastingsOn 1 January 1851, the Surrey Constabulary became operational with an establishment of 70 police officers. The first chief constable was 38 years old Captain Hastings. Hastings had to develop a police force from scratch. There were no policies or procedures and very few precedents. His first major consideration was recruiting men of the right calibre. There was no minimum age but they had to be less than 30 years of age and at least 5´ 7" tall.

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