My first job after university was as a psychologist in Wandsworth prison. After six years on prison landings, I trans- ferred to the (then) Prison Department’s South East Regional Office and subsequently became the Regional Psychologist. I became a founder member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Criminological and Legal Psychology (now known as Forensic Psychology), a member of the BPS’s Professional Affairs Board, served on the BPS’s Working Party on the Registration of Psychologists and was one of the people who initiated postgraduate forensic psychology training for psychologists working in prisons.
After nearly 20 years as a psychologist, I moved to the Home Office in Queen Anne’s Gate as an administrator, working on charities, charity law, the voluntary sector and reform of the Charity Commission; new religious movements and the founding of INFORM; scientific procedures on living animals for the first few years of the Animal Procedures Committee (now superseded by the Animals in Science Committee); animal welfare, including the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the regulation of puppy farms and the discontinuation of tail docking; the protection of seals during the phocine distemper outbreak; legislation to improve protection for badgers and their setts; approved probation/bail hostels and the introduction of National Standards; and probation service voluntary sector grants, including the setting up of the Wolvercote Clinic and the Stop It Now! child protection initiative. I was responsible for the introduction of electronic tagging, following which I was appointed an OBE.
I then took charge of the Home Office’s Criminal Policy Strategy Unit and dealt with cross-cutting criminal justice system issues like the Crime Reduction Programme; race equality and race crime, particularly following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry; violence against women, including representing the UK at EU level; violence against national health service staff, including ambulance crew; computer, internet and high-tech crime, including child abuse and internet fraud; high-profile sex offenders; the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998 in the criminal justice system; the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, information sharing and section 115.
My last job before retirement was as the first Crime Reduction Director (which became known as Home Office Director when the responsibilities were extended beyond crime) in the Government Office for the South East. My main task was to reduce crime across the region’s 84 local authority and five police force areas, but in addition I took on significant responsibilities across the South East in relation to drugs and race equality, including promoting BME professionals in public life (all this was, of course, long before the days of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” at the Home Office); and also the voluntary sector.
During my time as Home Office Director in the South East crime fell in each successive year. This meant that, by the time I left, the South East was the safest part of the UK. Whilst my main work was reducing volume crime, like burglary and car crime, I was also well-known for my work on violence against women, including particularly domestic violence (which fell dramatically, along with the murder rate); racial and homophobic crime; distraction burglary; how to reduce the fear of crime; and promoting race equality.
I remain passionate about these issues so have put up some of my public utterances on this website although they are getting very old now. However, sadly these messages are as vital as they always were: like the extreme danger women (and their children) face when they tell their partner that they wish to end a relationship – for that is the trigger for most murders. The world would become a safer place if that single, simple fact were more widely appreciated not only by potential victims, but also by their family and friends, professional advisors (like solicitors), the courts, the police and journalists who write about crime.
I now work entirely in a voluntary capacity, including
- Addison Court (trustee of a housing association for older people, from 2005 to 2019)
- Advisory Panel of INFORM (new religious movements)
- Chit Chat
- Kingsbridge Silver Band
- Kingsbridge Twinning Association
- the John Kempe Society
- member of Salcombe Harbour Board (from 2006; Deputy Chair from 2017)
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust (the national personal safety charity; I am one of the Members who appoint the trustees)
- Hastings and St Leonard’s Foreshore Charitable Trust (2006 to 2011, when I was the Chair)
- Phosphate-Free Estuaries Initiative
I write regularly about issues around Salcombe Harbour in my blog on this website.