New police chief to the manor born

7:00pm Wednesday 23rd January 2013

By Mark Taylor

OXFORD’S new police chief has vowed to make antisocial behaviour in the city the top of his hitlist.

And as an Oxford lad, Supt Christian Bunt will be drawing on all his local knowledge to help in his new job as Local Policing Area commander.

Handed the reins from outgoing commander Chris Sharp, who has retired after 30 years in the force, Supt Bunt says antisocial behaviour will be his ‘number one priority’.

He explained: “It is a problem that doesn’t just affect individuals. A solitary incident can impact on a whole neighbourhood, hundreds of people.”

And the boyhoood Oxford United fan added: “We will continue to come down hard on those who break the law but are very keen on getting into problem areas and estates and working with problem families.

“We’ll continue the good work of Chris and try to set up as many partnerships with outside organisations as we can. City and county councils are hugely important to us as they can help provide knowledge of where problems begin.”

Mr Bunt, 36, who is married and has three children, began his career in the force as a response officer in 2000 in Hampshire, covering Farnborough and Aldershot, before transferring to Thames Valley Police in November 2002.

Working his way through the ranks, in 2003 he returned to home turf to become a sergeant for Oxford, serving in various roles including patrol, custody and neighbourhood policing.

In October 2010, he became LPA Commander for Wokingham.

Supt Bunt is a handy footballer, having been picked to play for Oxford United’s School of Excellence as a youngster, but he didn’t quite make the grade and left aged 16.

In November 2011, a month before Mr Sharp became the LPA commander, there were 150 incidents of antisocial behaviour recorded in Oxford, according to police figures.

A year on that number had dropped to 110 incidents in the same month and Mr Bunt hopes to see a further decline.

Mr Sharp, 51, who has two grown-up children, joined the beat in Wantage in 1980 as a Pc.

He eventually held 14 different posts across Oxfordshire as a patrol officer, later as a police motorcyclist.

More recently he became the Detective Chief Inspector Crime Manager and was Oxford Area Commander from January 2012.

He said: “Oxford is the jewel in the crown of the Thames Valley, as far as I am concerned, and I have loved every minute of serving here.

“Policing back in the day was not quite Ashes to Ashes, as you see in the TV series, but it did change over the years. There are different sorts of crimes these days, more so computer and internet-related, fraud-type crime.”

His time on the police motorbikes created his best and worst moments on the job.

He said: “It was a hobby as well as a job, because I love bikes. My time on the roads was a wonderful part of my career.

“But it also brought the most toughest part, and that was dealing with road accidents and speaking to families who have lost loved ones. It never got easier and it was never the same.

“That is why we always try to hammer home the message that drivers must take more care.”

He said his next assignment was to visit his son, 19, who is working as a ski instructor in Canada.


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