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Department of Home Affairs managing a period of significant change

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Department of Home Affairs is entering a period of significant transition with changes in senior personnel and the introduction of new and more efficient ways of working.

Gary Roberts will officially take over as Chief Constable on 1 January 2013, succeeding Mike Langdon who is retiring in December after a distinguished career in the UK and Isle of Man police forces. The Department is also seeking to recruit an 'innovative and forward-looking' individual to head the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service. This will be a replacement for Brian Draper who is set to retire in February 2013 after 30 years with the local service, including the last 8 years as Chief Fire Officer.

Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK said:

'These are changing times with 2 experienced and highly respected senior officers leaving their positions over the next few months. The Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer have been excellent servants to the people of the Isle of Man and I wish them well for the future. Gary Roberts will become the first Manx Chief Constable of the Isle of Man when he takes up the post in January and I am confident he is the right candidate to continue the positive work that has taken place over recent years. Similarly, we will look to appoint a suitably qualified officer with a proven track record of achievement to ensure the ongoing development of the Fire and Rescue Service.'

In addition to changes at the top of 2 of its frontline agencies, the Department of Home Affairs is also continuing to respond to the challenge of delivering a quality service against a backdrop of budgetary restraint. New ways of working are being explored to drive forward efficiencies while retaining a strong focus on protecting the Island's reputation as one of the safest places to live in the British Isles.

A recent example of this approach is the proposed reform of the Island's criminal justice system. A new national strategy presented for consultation by Minister Watterson in October identifies opportunities to modernise processes, streamline administration and reduce the number of low-level offences appearing before the courts. Responses to the public consultation are being collated and the issue will be considered at the December sitting of Tynwald.

Minister Watterson said:

'Home Affairs, in common with other Departments across Government, is playing its part in helping to rebalance public finances. Change brings with it great challenge, but also opportunities to refine our working practices and make further improvements wherever possible. We are currently managing a period of major transition and will continue to focus on maintaining high standards and providing excellent value for taxpayers' money.'

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