On the 13th of January last year I mentioned the fact that Stephen Otter, the new Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, was on the point of taking up that post and I expressed the hope that morale could be restored in the force. So how has the new chief done over the past 12 months? I am always wary about official statistics but it would seem that their have been some fairly significant gains: crime detection rate - up, victims of crime who are 'satisfied' by the level of service provided - up, overall public confidence in the force - up, recorded crime - lower.
When someone is leading a large organisation such as the Devon and Cornwall Police then there are what I call the two vital and linked 'M words' which matter so much: these words are 'Morale' and 'Motivation'. I very strongly believe that almost everyone will react positively to what they need to do when morale is high and motivation is there. From my first viewing of Mr Otter I had a feeling that he would be good in these essential areas. He also has an excellent media presence, important in this very visible age.
Having personally worked in both high and low morale situations I'm only too aware of the importance of morale and, at the moment, things seem to be on the up with our Police. Let's hope that continues.