Top cop to leave Wycombe after HQ promotion

Bucks Free Press: Top cop to leave Wycombe after HQ promotion Top cop to leave Wycombe after HQ promotion

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."

Comments (9)

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12:09pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Disillusioned Optimist says...

Well, i'm rather saddened to hear that. He struck me as having his finger on the pulse and that was good for Wycombe. Oh well :S good luck in your new role lets hope we get a replacement of the same calibre
Well, i'm rather saddened to hear that. He struck me as having his finger on the pulse and that was good for Wycombe. Oh well :S good luck in your new role lets hope we get a replacement of the same calibre Disillusioned Optimist

12:58pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Bartholomew HuckleBerry says...

Rewards for failures yet again ! Dressing up figures and statistics of just one quarter to make the whole term sound a success is by far the worst way to blow your own trumpet. Violent crimes are increasingly getting overlooked but they justify an inaction due to other crimes on the decrease so they do not need to do anything about it ! Along with the useless MP, the fat cat that is the police commissioner and the utterly pathetic councillors, they will keep rewarding themselves because they are all in it together!
Rewards for failures yet again ! Dressing up figures and statistics of just one quarter to make the whole term sound a success is by far the worst way to blow your own trumpet. Violent crimes are increasingly getting overlooked but they justify an inaction due to other crimes on the decrease so they do not need to do anything about it ! Along with the useless MP, the fat cat that is the police commissioner and the utterly pathetic councillors, they will keep rewarding themselves because they are all in it together! Bartholomew HuckleBerry

3:04pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Natasha555 says...

Bartholomew HuckleBerry wrote:
Rewards for failures yet again ! Dressing up figures and statistics of just one quarter to make the whole term sound a success is by far the worst way to blow your own trumpet. Violent crimes are increasingly getting overlooked but they justify an inaction due to other crimes on the decrease so they do not need to do anything about it ! Along with the useless MP, the fat cat that is the police commissioner and the utterly pathetic councillors, they will keep rewarding themselves because they are all in it together!
Very well said 😊
[quote][p][bold]Bartholomew HuckleBerry[/bold] wrote: Rewards for failures yet again ! Dressing up figures and statistics of just one quarter to make the whole term sound a success is by far the worst way to blow your own trumpet. Violent crimes are increasingly getting overlooked but they justify an inaction due to other crimes on the decrease so they do not need to do anything about it ! Along with the useless MP, the fat cat that is the police commissioner and the utterly pathetic councillors, they will keep rewarding themselves because they are all in it together![/p][/quote]Very well said 😊 Natasha555

6:08pm Sat 28 Dec 13

geoffW says...

Note that the only quote about what a good bloke he is comes from .... Chief Inspector Colin Seaton, his deputy and someone not wishing to ruin his own promotion prospects. (However Seaton is part of the problem too.)
Note that the only quote about what a good bloke he is comes from .... Chief Inspector Colin Seaton, his deputy and someone not wishing to ruin his own promotion prospects. (However Seaton is part of the problem too.) geoffW

10:44am Sun 29 Dec 13

aqm805 says...

Shhh! It's FREE Press!
Shhh! It's FREE Press! aqm805

10:10pm Sun 29 Dec 13

legiopatrianostra says...

Disillusioned Optimist wrote:
Well, i'm rather saddened to hear that. He struck me as having his finger on the pulse and that was good for Wycombe. Oh well :S good luck in your new role lets hope we get a replacement of the same calibre
While I have little faith in the crime figures, I think you're bang on the money regarding regarding Gilbert Houalla.
[quote][p][bold]Disillusioned Optimist[/bold] wrote: Well, i'm rather saddened to hear that. He struck me as having his finger on the pulse and that was good for Wycombe. Oh well :S good luck in your new role lets hope we get a replacement of the same calibre[/p][/quote]While I have little faith in the crime figures, I think you're bang on the money regarding regarding Gilbert Houalla. legiopatrianostra

2:13am Tue 31 Dec 13

Dickitdo says...

A very nice man that deserves his promotion, I would like to wish him the very best in his next post .
A very nice man that deserves his promotion, I would like to wish him the very best in his next post . Dickitdo

12:47pm Tue 31 Dec 13

Bartholomew HuckleBerry says...

I stand by what I said and will defend my right to say it till I can no longer speak. I re-iterate that this waste of space Houlla has let the whole town by letting violent crime and burglaries increase dramatically whilst him and his councillor chums line their own pockets and still demand an increase in the council tax to fund their rewards for failures scheme.
They report crime figures that has been solved because they were petty traffic violations. But they will never report the figures , that really cannot be bothered to investigate, let alone resolve. If this is wrong then why has the government introduced the new crime reporting initiative only yesterday. The police officers who disagreed with me an thumbed down have their heads buried in the sand, which may sound more attractive than where their heads currently are buried !
I stand by what I said and will defend my right to say it till I can no longer speak. I re-iterate that this waste of space Houlla has let the whole town by letting violent crime and burglaries increase dramatically whilst him and his councillor chums line their own pockets and still demand an increase in the council tax to fund their rewards for failures scheme. They report crime figures that has been solved because they were petty traffic violations. But they will never report the figures , that really cannot be bothered to investigate, let alone resolve. If this is wrong then why has the government introduced the new crime reporting initiative only yesterday. The police officers who disagreed with me an thumbed down have their heads buried in the sand, which may sound more attractive than where their heads currently are buried ! Bartholomew HuckleBerry

10:42pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Lawrence Linehan says...

It would be true to say, in my view, that Gilbert Houalla sat on his hands some years ago while his team, particularly the female members, allowed areas of Wooburn, Bourne End, Flackwell and Marlow (notably Gunthorpe Road) to be taken over, particularly on summer evenings, by groups of children, of overlapping membership, and of school to school-leaving age, who smashed windows, threw eggs and shrieked and roared obscenities at each other and local passers-by, sometimes while they were intoxicated on illegally-obtained cider and cigarettes.

Having said that - if all the BFP statistics are accurate then Superintendent Houalla has also overseen a highly successful and creditable overall reduction in crime. His comments on his colleagues also suggest he is a generous-natured man who does not stint on acknowledging his debts to others.

Unless I am mistaken the name ‘Houalla’ comes from Lebanon - a former part of the French Empire in Africa - so in a way Superintendent Houalla (who has said before in the BFP that he was a member of a racial minority in France) is not unlike the Muslim citizens of High Wycombe whose ancestors were from the British Empire in Asia.

I suspect the life story of a Thames Valley Police Superintendent with French nationality, and a Lebanese surname who came to end up in High Wycombe would be an interesting story if the Bucks Free Press told us some more of it. (And Superintendent Houalla does not seem averse to the limelight.)

I am sure a lot of people wish an interesting character success in the future.
It would be true to say, in my view, that Gilbert Houalla sat on his hands some years ago while his team, particularly the female members, allowed areas of Wooburn, Bourne End, Flackwell and Marlow (notably Gunthorpe Road) to be taken over, particularly on summer evenings, by groups of children, of overlapping membership, and of school to school-leaving age, who smashed windows, threw eggs and shrieked and roared obscenities at each other and local passers-by, sometimes while they were intoxicated on illegally-obtained cider and cigarettes. Having said that - if all the BFP statistics are accurate then Superintendent Houalla has also overseen a highly successful and creditable overall reduction in crime. His comments on his colleagues also suggest he is a generous-natured man who does not stint on acknowledging his debts to others. Unless I am mistaken the name ‘Houalla’ comes from Lebanon - a former part of the French Empire in Africa - so in a way Superintendent Houalla (who has said before in the BFP that he was a member of a racial minority in France) is not unlike the Muslim citizens of High Wycombe whose ancestors were from the British Empire in Asia. I suspect the life story of a Thames Valley Police Superintendent with French nationality, and a Lebanese surname who came to end up in High Wycombe would be an interesting story if the Bucks Free Press told us some more of it. (And Superintendent Houalla does not seem averse to the limelight.) I am sure a lot of people wish an interesting character success in the future. Lawrence Linehan

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