Kensington and Chelsea’s first ever female police chief is determined to stay in the post as long as possible following three different chiefs in two years .
You may have spotted Ellie O’Connor patrolling the borough’s streets over the past three weeks as she tries to learn every inch of the area.
The 51-year-old says good morning to everyone as she passes but do not be fooled by the smile and the polite manner - this is one borough commander who means business. “When I say I want something done, I only ask once,” she said.
A force to be reckoned with, she has been with the Met for 25 years and started as a uniformed constable in Barking.
This is her first foray into west London, having spent most of her career in east London where she became a detective and created the Sex Offences Registration Unit as she managed several high profile paedophile cases.
The newly promoted chief superintendent was integral in delivering the Sapphire Unit which deals with rape and serious sexual assault. In 2011 she led the local policing crime investigation response to the London riots.
“In east London there are lots of murders and shootings which luckily don’t happen so much here, but that doesn’t mean we have to get slack about policing. There are different issues here and I’m going to make sure we target them head on.
“For example, high-value motor vehicle theft and theft of mopeds is quite bad in Kensington and Chelsea, that needs to be stopped.”
The police chief is welcoming in new recruits this week and is keen to give them the best standing she can. “I think it’s really important to show people they have potential. I’ll be having one-on-one sessions with them and although I have a busy schedule I will always make time because it’s integral for our police force.”
Chief Superintendent O’Connor’s first big event happens to be Europe’s largest street festival - Notting Hill Carnival .
There is an annual, well-oiled police plan for the carnival to prevent violence but she will be focusing on keeping people’s personal valuables safe as pick-pocketing can be a major problem, with thousands of people visiting from all over the country and the world to celebrate.
Operation Big Wing, which cracks down on domestic abuse, will be one of her first projects as she said it does not matter what colour or how rich or poor you are, it can affect anybody.
With the daily barrage of negative comments about the police, she said: “I want every cop to walk out of this building and be proud of what they do.”
Ms O’Connor’s added: “I’m looking to stay here because the borough needs a bit of stability after so many changes.
Everyone so far as been very welcoming and I’m looking forward to working with the public and the local authority.”
Chief Superintendent will be writing a column next month on getwestlondon about how to stay safe at Notting Hill Carnival on August 24-25.