Cheshire’s Chief Constable, Simon Byrne was formally presented with the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) yesterday (Thursday, June 9).
Mr Byrne was invited to Buckingham Palace to accept the honour from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, having been named in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours’ List.
The QPM is awarded to police officers in the United Kingdom (and Commonwealth of Nations), for distinguished service or gallantry.
Mr Byrne said: “This was a fantastic day with my family, and humbling to receive. It was a chance to reflect on a long career in policing and the many thousands of colleagues that have supported me throughout my career and helped make this special recognition possible. I am very proud to lead an innovative and progressive force like Cheshire Constabulary.”
Since joining Cheshire Constabulary in 2014, Mr Byrne has overseen a police force that has become one of the best performing forces in the country. Last year it was graded ‘outstanding’ by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for ‘efficiency’ at keeping people safe and reducing crime, and ‘good’ for its ‘effectiveness’ and ‘legitimacy’. It was also found to be ‘good’ at protecting the most vulnerable people in its communities.
Most recently, Mr Byrne has taken a national role leading the development and improvement of criminal justice, as the National Police Chief’s Council lead in this area.
He also has a national lead role for the National Police Air Service – which provides vital air support to protect the public for police forces across the country.
Mr Byrne’s long and distinguished career began in 1982 on the beat in the Paddington and the St John’s Wood area as a Metropolitan Police officer. Three years later, he transferred to Merseyside Police where he worked in uniform, CID and at Headquarters, and in 2002 he took the lead role as the police commander for policing Knowsley, a particularly challenging and deprived area of Liverpool.
He transferred to Greater Manchester Police in 2009 as Deputy Chief Constable, where he led a programme focused on improving the service the force was delivering for victims and members of the public in Manchester. During this time, investment in neighbourhood policing was key to the changes Mr Byrne introduced, at a time when the force was under scrutiny from the Home Office.
Returning to the Met in 2011, Mr Byrne headed up the largest operational command in the country, running day-to-day policing in London and boosting neighbourhood policing teams across the capital.
In June 2014 Mr Byrne returned to his home county, to became Cheshire’s Chief Constable. He has continued to focus on victims’ needs and putting the public at the heart of policing. Over the last year this has included increasing the number of police officers in local policing, reshaping frontline policing and introducing an innovative new planning approach that has enabled the force to become more efficient in the delivery of its services and was central to the ‘outstanding’ judgement from HMIC.