New chief constable confirmed by Wiltshire's Police and Crime Panel

Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Panel has approved the selection of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commander Catherine Roper as the next chief constable of Wiltshire Police.

Jan 12, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Left to right: Cllr Steve Bucknall, chair of Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel, incoming chief constable Catherine Roper and PCC Philip Wilkinson.

The appointment was endorsed by the panel on Thursday (January 12) after police and crime commissioner (PCC) Philip Wilkinson selected her as his preferred candidate last month.

Cmdr Roper takes over from Kier Pritchard, who announced in November his intention to retire after 30 years in policing later this year.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Following the panel’s endorsement of Catherine’s appointment, Wiltshire is gaining a chief constable with a broad breadth of policing experience.

“I look forward to working with Catherine closely over the coming months and years to bring our shared goal of making Wiltshire a safer place to live, work and visit to fruition.”

He added: “Appointing a chief constable is one of the most important decisions I will make while in office and I am grateful for the support of my office in bringing the comprehensive recruitment process to a successful conclusion.”

Cmdr Roper, who is responsible for Central Specialist Crime at the MPS, said: “Today was a key further step towards my appointment as chief constable of Wiltshire Police, and I am delighted with the support and endorsement by the Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel.

“I am very much looking forward to formally starting my role. Working with the PCC Philip Wilkinson, my teams and I will focus on providing the communities and partners of Wiltshire and Swindon with the best possible policing service.”

Cmdr Roper joined the MPS in 2000 and began her career in frontline policing. Her progression has seen her take several high-profile roles including within specialist intelligence and surveillance command.

She has also worked within the Specialist Protection Command, responsible for the armed protection of politicians and high-profile VIPs and also spent time in Royalty Protection, responsible for armed protection of the Royal Family.

In 2022, Cmdr Roper was made responsible for Central Specialist Crime, which includes tackling the most serious organised criminality, including economic and cybercrime, modern slavery and organised immigration crime, online child sexual exploitation, kidnaps and the Flying Squad, in addition to a range of high-profile, complex and sensitive investigations.

As well as her MPS responsibilities, Cmdr Roper holds the National Child and Young Person portfolio, and is a post-incident manager for firearms incidents, as well as previously being a strategic firearms commander.

Councillor Steve Bucknall, chair of Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel, said: “The panel were pleased to confirm Catherine Roper as the next chief constable of Wiltshire Police.

“The county is lucky to have secured such considerable policing experience and aptitude in Catherine.

“Her focus and commitment to delivering a quality police service for the county’s residents was evident and I was particularly heartened to hear the passion she will bring to improving public trust and confidence in Wiltshire Police.”

The PCC is required to consult with the Police and Crime Panel, as the body which holds him to account on several core items of business such as the budget for policing, police council precept setting and the appointment of a new chief constable.

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