A new Chief Inspector has been appointed in Hertsmere.

CI Clare Smith replaces CI Steve O’Keeffe who has left his role to take up a post as Detective Chief Inspector of partnerships and policies.

CI Smith, who will lead the policing teams in Hertsmere, says the borough was her “first choice” after she made a decision to return to community policing.

CI Smith’s previous role was leading the Workforce Development team at Hertfordshire Constabulary where she was heavily involved in recruitment and also helped introduce the ‘mini police’ scheme which sees police visiting schools across the county, including in Hertsmere.

The new chief inspector said: “My role is to reduce crime, catch criminals and keep people safe. My first choice was Hertsmere. I was attracted to the diverse communities - the combination of urban and rural areas and being so near to London and motorways.

"Plus thee positive relationship with our partner agencies, including the council, to deal with crime and issues affecting residents’ quality of life.

“I’ve fortunately inherited a fantastic team who are working hard to achieve these aims. I want to make sure my officers remain visible and accessible to the public."

People living in Shenley, Potters Bar, Aldenham, and the Cowley Hill ward of Borehamwood are being urged to sign up to Neighbourhood Watch, a scheme which provides alerts of crime in the area.

During her 23 years in the Force, having joined aged 22, CI Smith has had a number of specialist roles, mostly as a detective. She was initially stationed in Watford as a PC before being promoted several times to become a Detective Chief Inspector. She spent three years as a DCI helping to protect domestic abuse victims. She was also a Neighbourhood Inspector in Dacorum.

She said: “As a DI covering Watford, I worked closely with the Bushey detectives as crime cut across both areas and it’s nice to know a few familiar faces.”

CI Smith is an accredited Firearms commander and chair of the Herts Police Women’s Network. She is married, aged 45, has two step-children and is ‘Nanny Clare’ to her seven-year-old grandson. She is a Watford season ticket holder and loves watching comedians, live bands and going to the theatre as well as travelling and climbing mountains.

Sign up to OWL Neighbourhood Watch at www.owl.co.uk