Bexley Police's new borough commander talks race, policing priorities and Olympics (From News Shopper)
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Bexley Police's new borough commander talks race, policing priorities and Olympics
BEXLEY Police have a new top cop taking over the role of borough commander. ABIGAIL WOODCOCK talks race, policing priorities and the Olympics with the first black man to take over the position.
HE MAY be Bexley’s first black borough commander, but Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa considers himself first and foremost a police officer.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Surrey with his physiotherapist wife and two teenage children, says his ethnicity does not affect the way he does the job.
Chief Supt Olisa took over as borough commander from Chief Supt Dave Stringer last week and is tasked with overseeing all policing matters in the area.
He is one of only three chief superintendents of black minority ethnic backgrounds working for the Met.
Chief Supt Olisa, whose grandfather was a police officer in Nigeria, said: “People asked me when I was the first black police officer for Surrey police what that was like but I think the focus should be on the job I’m doing.
“If (being black) is an advantage, then brilliant. If it’s a disadvantage, I will have to deal with that.
“I can’t hide it.
“Policing runs in the family - I have always wanted to be a police officer and ethnicity does not affect that.”
Chief Supt Olisa started his career in Surrey Police in 1982 before transferring to the City of London Police in 1990 as detective inspector in the Fraud Squad.
After a spell working at the Home Office, he transferred to the Met in 2006 as Southwark’s superintendent.
Before moving to Bexley, he was found taking the lead on the Met’s Stop and Search Team.
Looking ahead to his time in the borough, the new top cop says his priorities will be primarily safety driven.
He said: “Safety stands out without a shadow of a doubt.
“It’s not restricted to any particular group- I want safety for young people so they can attend school in peace and for elderly people.”
He added: “I also want to work with partners - churches, businesses and the private and public sector - to provide a service to residents and visitors.
“I want to make people’s lives the best we can.”
Talking Olympics, the Chief Supt says policing during the Games will be a testing time for the borough’s police force. He said: “One of our biggest challenges here is that the number of officers under my command is less than in Southwark.
“On top of that we have a commitment to send officers centrally to work on the Olympics which will reduce the number of officers we have.
“The officers left behind will have to work harder.
“We will tap into specials and volunteers.”
When he’s not at work, Chief Supt Olisa coaches his 13-year-old son’s football team and enjoys his season ticket for Manchester United.
THE Met has recently faced criticism over racism within the ranks, with Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe pledging to drive out racist police officers from the force.
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Peter Smyth said: “People from ethnic backgrounds who reach senior roles will restore confidence that we are not a racist organisation.
“We have always promoted the idea that there should be more people at senior ranks who represent the people they serve.”