Northamptonshire Police chief on TV documentary success and Twitter

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley with some of his officers. Photo: Northamptonshire Police
Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley with some of his officers. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

With a television show about the force 'going down a storm' and its chief refusing to shy away on social media, a new era of openness has taken over Northamptonshire Police.

The Channel 4 documentary series, 999: What's Your Emergency, apparently earned record viewers as officers were followed around Northamptonshire to capture the human side of the force.

While Chief Constable and avid 'tweeter' Nick Adderley has a clear mantra on accepting fair criticism but not standing for harsh or unnecessary abuse online.

"I think chief constables are too silent," he said about some of the responses he has given to critics on the social media platform since taking over. "If I've got justification I'll have it," he said.

Chief Cons Adderley was interviewed as he marked 12 months in his new role in Northamptonshire this week, which has been far from smooth sailing.

His first job was to dismantle the structure of the force, set up around six months before he took over at a 'significant' cost, as it was 'failing the public'.

While an 'unpleasant' report on Northamptonshire Police's safeguarding by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services is due in September - which he says does not represent the force as it is now.

But Chief Cons Adderley wants to instil a culture of honesty and openness, something that 999: What's Your Emergency, by production company Blast Films, has supported.

"I'm so proud of the force and the people who've taken part in that because they've been themselves," he said.

"If you look at the one around domestic abuse, we had Hannah on there who was talking openly about her personal experience of being a victim of domestic abuse and highlighting the issues of mental health and some of the challenges that the force faces.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley reads his report on his first 12 months in charge. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley reads his report on his first 12 months in charge. Photo: Northamptonshire Police

"We are real people and we all have a story, and yet we all go out and we put on that facade so we are able to be the best that we can be.

"So I'm really proud of them and pleased that Blast captured that."

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Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley on patrol

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley on patrol

999: What's Your Emergency aired in June, which Ch Cons Adderley said had the most viewers in the series' history, and eight more episodes are due to come out in October.

The show followed officers on call-outs to various incidents, from anti-social behaviour in Northampton town centre to domestic abuse complaints.

Ch Cons Adderley said it has given officers a confidence boost in what they are doing and the majority of letters he receives have changed from negative to positive.

Deputy head of communications Nicola Mawe added: "I think that's an eye-opener for the public to see the level of what officers face every day.

"And also the other side, the safeguarding side and the care that officers take in dealing with people as well, I think that's been an eye-opener for the public."

A 21st Century tool to help with being open is social media, in Ch Cons Adderley's eyes, so he can be found regularly tweeting about hot topics in policing and popular culture.

The police chief said social media can help to demystify what policing is all about and show the person behind the uniforms.

He also uses it to staunchly defend his staff from critics, something the Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner 'gets headaches' about.

"If we've done wrong, great hold us to account, public interest, but where we haven't, don't just sit back and take it, I'm not going to get stiffed or let the staff get stiffed," he said.

"If we deserve a kicking, we'll take it, if we don't, I won't have it. And what that does is, that whole package is what I'm about, I'm a human being, protecting and supporting the staff and I won't take any crap."

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