Taking over the reins as Leeds District Commander at a time when demands facing the city’s police are greater than ever is no simple task.
In a single day this week, there were around 750 calls for service in Leeds alone including 133 calls to 999 and a further 130 calls which were classed as needing a priority response.
Nonetheless, Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter says that he is “absolutely delighted” to have taken up post this week.
Speaking to the YEP, he said: “I’ve been a Chief Superintendent for six years now and a District Commander almost three years at Kirklees, but it’s a real privilege to come across now to work in Leeds. It’s such a fantastic, vibrant city.
“I’m also blessed with an outstanding team here and some really great local staff who’ve got some great relationships, from the investigations point of view but also from the neighbourhood policing side.”
The focus in the coming weeks is starting to build an understanding of what makes the city tick, what strategies have proved successful and what will make the greatest impact in making Leeds a safer place.
“It’s all about understanding what people expect from the police, where my resources are and where we’re linking up with other partners,” Chief Supt Cotter said. “I want officers where they can make a difference.”
Every district within the force has seen a significant increase in demand that needs an immediate response, meaning work to reduce and prevent crime can be forced to take a back seat at times.
But Chief Supt Cotter is determined to find ways for this crucial element of the force’s work to continue.
“We know the resources we can allocate to problem solving will reduce that demand,” he said. “If can problem solve, we don’t have members of the public becoming victims. That’s where we want to be concentrating things.”
Another priority will continue to be the organised crime groups linked to city’s drug trade and firearms offences.
Chief Supt Cotter said: “I was in a position where we did bring a lot of the gangs to justice in Kirklees, and my intention is to do that here.
“But neighbourhood policing is still the bedrock we’re building everything on so it’s about our uniformed staff engaging with communities, understanding the communities we serve and gathering that information about what’s really affecting people’s lives.”
FROM BEAT COP TO SENIOR ROLES
Joining West Yorkshire Police in June 1990, Steve Cotter was posted to Calderdale District where he worked in operational and proactive teams.
He moved to Bradford in 1998, moving through the ranks to become Chief Inspector before returning to work in Calderdal.
Becoming Superintendent in 2007, he left to join the North East Counter Terrorism Unit in 2011.
Returning in 2014, he became the Director for the Programme of Change and went on to become Kirklees District Commader in 2015.