The new chief of Cheshire police has vowed to make officers more “visible” by putting more bobbies on the beat.
And Chief Constable Byrne has already set his sights on his main priority for the force – to increase the number of officers on the streets fighting and preventing crime on a daily basis.
The married father-of-two comes to the force from his role as assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, where he was responsible for 32 London boroughs, the largest policing operation in the country.
Known for cost-cutting and streamlining services, Simon has 32 years of service under his belt, and has held roles including; assistant chief constable for Merseyside Police in 2006 and deputy chief constable Greater Manchester Police in 2009.
During a press conference yesterday, the 51-year-old outlined plans to increase staffing levels at Cheshire Constabulary, saying he aims to hire 50 new constables – swelling the force’s number to 2,000.
"The first thing I want to look at this year is police visibility, because we both hear a lot from right across the county that there's still a yearning for seeing the bobby on the beat,” said Chief Constable Byrne, who is exploring options with police and crime commissioner John Dwyer.
“I'm given just short of £200M from various grants and council tax and things, and whilst there has to be good diligence and governance, it’s a choice about how we spend it.
“The bulk of our money goes on people, but I've spoken to John about exploring where we can actually grow the police force, the constables to about 2,000 officers - about 50 more than we've currently got.”
Chief Constable Byrne, who has lived in Cheshire for almost 40 years, also outlined plans for technology for front line officers, measures to tackle car crime and a vision to put victims back in the heart of the police's operations.
Although he has been based at the force for the past six weeks, Chief Constable Byrne was officially sworn in today after re-affirming his police oath, which transferred his commitment to serve the community of Cheshire.
The attestation was witnessed and signed by deputy chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, John Bach, and Mr Dwyer.
“Now you know why I am looking forward to working with Simon. We have had some really good meaningful discussions over the last few weeks that we've been together,” said Mr Dwyer.
“I think there is great potential here to improve the lot in terms of the public.
"I’m delighted to see the impact that Simon’s presence has already had on the force. Last week 179 people were arrested as part of ‘Operation Cleansweep’ which targeted people who were wanted on warrants, failed to turn up at court or were named suspects in criminal investigations.
"This was fantastic work and I’m delighted with the direction the force is taking," said Commissioner Dwyer, who said he was excited about the direction the force was taking.
“It's important that the public of Cheshire feel that they are getting value for money and feel safe. And working together I'm sure we can do that.”