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Top cop to leave Wycombe after HQ promotion
7:00am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
TOP policeman Superintendent Gilbert Houalla - who has been described as the district’s best ever commander - is leaving Wycombe after receiving a promotion within Thames Valley Police.
Supt Houalla, who has served as the Wycombe LPA Commander for four years, leaves the post on January 5 to become Chief Superintendent responsible for neighbourhood policing and partnerships across the Thames Valley region.
Under his tenure, crime figures dropped year-on-year and his deputy, Chief Inspector Colin Seaton, has described him as not only the best performing commander Wycombe has ever had - but "a kind and thoughtful man who puts the welfare of others above himself."
Bidding farewell to Wycombe, Supt Houalla wrote the following piece for the Free Press:
"It is time for me to move on to new pastures. Being in command of a large police area such as Wycombe has been a privilege.
"Being French I am going to quote Napoleon Bonaparte, who once said a good general is a lucky general. Well I have had more than my fair share of luck being the Wycombe Police Commander.
"Let me explain; in a period where we had to reduce our budget by 20 percent, our Chief Constable gave us an extra six officers.
"I inherited a team who in time proved capable of very high performance. My deputy Chief Inspector Colin Seaton, my rock, is first class.
"My partners at both the district and county level are resolutely supportive and well led. My local Members of Parliament and all the politicians do genuinely care for their communities.
"I simply could not fail. Wycombe is new recognised as one of the top performing police area in TVP, now you know why.
"The future of policing is challenging to say the least and my officers will need every bit of help you can give. I grant you, increasingly police behaviour is being challenged and I think this is a very good thing.
"All I ask is that you judge my officers as you find them and not by what you have read in some of the national papers about something that has happened somewhere else. "Any future budget cuts will undoubtedly result in the reduction of front line officers and there is little fat left if any at all. We are still failing to connect with our youth.
"Some may disagree, but I think the youth of today are to be proud off, they are more tolerant, better behaved then previous generations.
"They should be listened to and engaged with, we can learn a lot from them, we just need to figure out how and do it before it is too late.
"I would like to say thank you for the support that you have given my officers, I look forwards to serving you all in my new capacity. It will be my privilege."
SUPT Houalla leaves Wycombe in rude health after the latest figures revealed crime has been slashed across the board in the year-to-date.
There were 336 victims of burglary between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 and – while there are still three months to go – that has been cut by 44 percent, with just 188 recorded burglaries between April 1 and December 18.
Personal robbery is down 51 percent (29 reported crimes) while serious assault, GBH, remains unchanged from last year, with 14 recorded crimes.
Violence against a person is up 0.8 percent to 952 – but overall crime across the Wycombe LPA is down by 10.7 percent.
Ch Insp Seaton said: "We are really pleased with the crime figures as there’s a reduction in crime overall and a reduction of 44 percent in burglary.
"This is as a result of strong partnership work between the police and the local authorities, but also the community who I would ask to continue to be vigilant and to continue to call us whenever they see something suspicious."
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