New deputy chief constable appointed at Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Reilly has been appointed as Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s new deputy chief constable.

Oct 10, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Jon Reilly

He will replace Nikki Watson who is to retire after more than 36 years at the force.

Mr Reilly, who joined Avon and Somerset Constabulary in 1997 as a police constable, said it was a “great privilege and honour” to be appointed deputy chief constable.

His career has spanned both uniform and detective roles, including Bristol area commander and head of investigations, and he has also served as South West Regional assistant chief constable.

Mr Reilly said: “To be given the opportunity to serve the richly diverse and unique communities of Avon and Somerset as deputy chief constable is a great privilege and honour.

“My commitment to this area is unwavering and I’m passionate about delivering a police service everyone can be proud of. I’m fully aware of the ongoing challenges policing nationally is facing into, but repairing and increasing the public’s trust and confidence in us is something I’m wholly committed to doing.

“I’m eager to get started in my new role and to support the brave and dedicated officers, staff and volunteers I work alongside as well as reaffirm my commitment to listening to all of our communities partner agencies, to ensure this police force is one to be proud of.”

His appointment followed a competitive recruitment process, which was held at the weekend.

The force said the process, which included engagement with staff representatives, a presentation and media exercise, was conducted by a panel made up of Chief Constable Sarah Crew, police and crime commissioner Mark Shelford, an occupational psychologist and a community representative.

Ms Crew praised the “exceptional work” of the outgoing deputy chief constable during her 36 years at the force.

Ms Watson has overseen the creation of the force’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, introduced an online reporting system to reduce the demand on 999 and 101, and has taken on the role of gender lead to create a working environment where women can develop and thrive.

She received the Queen’s Police Medal for leading Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Crew said: “I want to thank Nikki for the exceptional work she’s developed, implemented and overseen during what’s been an exemplary career in policing. She’s always had our communities at the heart of everything she does, and I know she’s got even more to give. Nikki is a true public servant who encapsulates all our values.

“Her legacy will be a lasting one, and she’s been a trailblazer in her commitment to improving the opportunities and working environment for women in policing.

“I also want to congratulate Jon on his appointment. He’s an exceptional police officer and public servant and brings into his new role a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“I know he’ll work tirelessly to help us deliver outstanding policing for everyone and he fully supports the ongoing drive to improve public confidence in policing through greater openness, accountability and transparency.”

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