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Profile: New Bexley police borough commander Superintendent Peter Ayling
BEXLEY police’s new borough commander is excited for the future but disappointed at his soon-to-be predecessor’s hasty departure.
Superintendent Peter Ayling will take over from Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa on March 4 after the current commander’s move to Haringey was announced on January 29.
The 35-year-old joined Bexley as Superintendent of operations in October last year and will be the borough's fifth commander in four years.
The former semi-professional basketball player with the Medway Park Crusaders says he would have liked his current boss to stick around.
He said: "In some ways Chief Supt Olisa’s departure is a disappointment because we started some really good work and I was really enjoying being part of this team.
"He’s left the borough in good shape and we are hoping to target and take out of commission some of the criminal groups operating in the area."
Originally from Hampshire, Supt Ayling began his police career with Kent police in 1998 and worked his way up to Chief Inspector of operations in north Kent, leading a number of cross border initiatives with Bexley.
The former personal trainer lead north Kent police’s response to the massive power outage across the area in July 2009 which affected up to 300,000 homes and blacked-out key infrastructure including the Dartford Crossing.
He said: "The main concerns were that hospitals and road networks would not be able to cope and opportunist crime would take place.
"It was satisfying in the end to know quite a complex issue involving probably a dozen or so different agencies was very well organised."
The applied criminology graduate lists his priorities for Bexley as meeting London Mayor Boris Johnson’s crime reduction targets, making sure residents can see more officers on the beat and delivering the MET’s new community-focused policing model.
The married father-of-one is settled in the borough with his family and has no plans to go anywhere just yet.
He said: "My ambition is to be here for the long term and I am not anticipating being moved any time soon."
Bexley and Kingston will be the only two London boroughs without a Chief Superintendent in charge when Supt Ayling takes over as borough commander next month.
The MET said the decision was part of plans to reduce "supervision processes across the service in order to maintain the number of constables policing our streets".
A statement said: "There are no immediate plans to change the ranks of any other borough commanders at the moment.
"However the move towards a mix of ranks for these roles is an ongoing process so it is likely that similar changes will be made in appropriate boroughs in the coming months.
"The decision is dependent on the size and nature of these boroughs."