Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Panel has approved Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commander Catherine Roper as the new chief constable of Wiltshire Police, which is currently in special measures.
The appointment was endorsed on 12 January after police and crime commissioner (PCC) Philip Wilkinson following her selection as the preferred candidate.
The force is currently rated as inadequate.
Wilkinson said: “I look forward to working with Catherine closely over the coming months and years to bring our shared goal of making Wiltshire a safer place to live, work and visit to fruition.
“Appointing a chief constable is one of the most important decisions I will make while in office and I am grateful for the support of my office in bringing the comprehensive recruitment process to a successful conclusion.”
Roper takes over from CC Kier Pritchard, who is retiring.
Roper said: “I am very much looking forward to formally starting my role. Working with the PCC Philip Wilkinson, my teams and I will focus on providing the communities and partners of Wiltshire and Swindon with the best possible policing service.”
She has been with the Met for more than two decades and has held several high-profile roles including within specialist intelligence and surveillance command.
Roper has also worked within the Specialist Protection Command, responsible for the armed protection of politicians and high-profile VIPs and also spent time in Royalty Protection, responsible for armed protection of the Royal Family.
She then moved to Central Specialist Crime, which includes tackling the most serious organised criminality, including economic and cybercrime, modern slavery and immigration crime, online child sexual exploitation, kidnaps and the Flying Squad, in addition to a range of high-profile, complex and sensitive investigations.
The new chief constable aims to improve a police force currently in special measures after an “inadequate” report.
Roper has given herself 12 months to “significantly improve” Wiltshire Police’s performance.
“I need to learn that, but I am ready for the challenge and I ask that people help me learn the things I need to know.”
Cllr Steve Bucknall, Chair of Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel, added: “The Panel were pleased to confirm Catherine Roper as the next Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police.
“The county is lucky to have secured such considerable policing experience and aptitude in Catherine. Her focus and commitment to delivering a quality police service for the county’s residents was evident and I was particularly heartened to hear the passion she will bring to improving public trust and confidence in Wiltshire Police.”