Chief Superintendent Simon Hyde, who has just taken on the new role, said: “It is like coming home, returning to work with a community and people you know in an area where you grew up.” The Wolverhampton-born 46-year-old father of two added: “I always wanted to join the police because it was a job in which I could make a difference to the lives of others by protecting the public.”
He patrolled Wednesfield and Bilston as a constable after joining the West Midlands force in 1986 and was on the night shift when Bilston Street Police Station in Wolverhampton City Centre – where he will now be based – was opened. Three years later he left on promotion but came back to serve in the city for five years as an inspector before spending time with the Central Motorway Police Group.
He returned to Wolverhampton as a detective chief inspector in 2007, playing a leading role in Project Negate that led to 76 arrests, the recovery of 11 firearms, £600,000 worth of Class A drugs and the seizure of £400,000 cash and assets. Mr Hyde then moved on to head the force CID before taking charge of its Public Protection Unit. During his time with the force he also led the team of officers who investigate sexual assaults in the West Midlands.
He said his home city was never far from his thoughts, however. He added: “I always wanted to get back to Wolverhampton and relished the prospect of taking charge of its local policing unit. “I am returning to where my career first started and I doubt there are many commanders who can say that.” Mr Hyde said that the role of policing had changed since he first joined the force. “We had far more resources available but were not as scientific in our approach when I joined.
“Officers out on patrol in the city now are more focused and have to deal with far greater challenges. They cope with those exceptionally well.” He also revealed his priorities after moving to his new post. He said: “Crime is being reduced and the challenge for us is to continue that trend. Offender management and the targeting of offenders has got much better.
“There is rehabilitation for those who wish to take it and a far more robust approach to those who do not. “Public confidence in the police and satisfaction with the job we are doing is also vital.” He said of the menace of guns and gangs: “There have been some great successes with this recently and the situation in Wolverhampton is far more safe and stable that previously but we still have much further to go.”
The current Bilston Street Police Station opened in Railway Street in the town in 2010. The three-storey building replaced the old police base in Mount Pleasant, which was one of the oldest police hubs in the West Midlands and only moated station left in the country. The old site was earmarked to be transformed into a new housing development after proposals were backed by planners at Wolverhampton City Council.