On the last day of Chief Constable Giles York’s 30 years of police service, he reflected on his most rewarding career and said given the choice he would do it again.
“To anyone joining the force I can say you will have a fantastic career ahead of you wherever you choose to take it.” he said. “Policing comes with two health warnings. We do put ourselves in the way of harm, however Sussex Police is well equipped to look after you physically and mentally when this occurs; and policing is an addiction; it is a difficult passion to let go of.
“A friend called Richard Ing left Durham University the year before me and joined the Metropolitan Police. When he talked to me about his work, he said “I cannot wait to get back to work on Monday…” I am so grateful to him for that insight and I still feel like that today.”
Giles, who is married with three children, joined Sussex Police in 2008 as Deputy Chief Constable. He was promoted to Chief Constable in 2014 and was awarded QPM for services to policing in 2015. He started his career in Kent Police in 1990 before going on to become an Assistant Chief Constable with South Wales Police in 2005.
During his time as Chief Constable, he led the force’s change programme, which looked at ways of modernising the Force to improve the service for the public whilst making £50million worth of savings.
He said: “As Chief Constable the greatest challenge has to have been finding the savings we had to make and taking the difficult decisions about what we were no longer going to do. But also rising to the challenge with my whole leadership team to keep the force focused with delivering the best public service possible, keeping morale as high as possible and still investing in the changes that keeps us modern and relevant.”
Giles is the force lead for Diversity and in this role he has established a network of force champions who lead internally and externally for different aspects of diversity.
He said: “I am proud to have given Sussex a local, national and international voice – with Sussex recognised for providing the most outstanding force contribution to disability, recognised nationally, through the work of our diversity champions, as the highest ranking police force in the Stonewall top 100 employers and internationally recognised as UN Women champion for HeforShe with every force in the country coming on board.
“One of the greatest privileges of being a police officer is the access that you are allowed. Sometimes that is access to places where no one else can go but more often it is the access you are allowed into people’s lives and the trust they show you. Policing is always about building relationships: engaging, communicating and caring whether that is with victims, organisations or each and every one of my own staff.
“I will leave you in the capable hands of an experienced and forward-thinking leader in Jo Shiner. Our plans for the force to grow in strength this year and in future years are coming to fruition, our role in the community could never be more important on the back of a national crisis that we have seen around Covid-19 and the need for policing to understand its communities more than ever before in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd and what we are seeing unfolding in America. I believe Sussex Police is really well placed with the people and desire to meet these challenges positively.”
Giles is the vice chair of National Police Chiefs’ Council, the national police lead for Workforce, Intellectual Property Crime and led the national Digital Policing Programme. He has had a critical role in leading many national changes in policing over recent years.
Mr York’s final day was marked at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes where he carried out his very last inspection of new police recruits and where his career was recognised and applauded by senior leaders based at the site.
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne said that Chief Constable Giles York would be sorely missed but his impact on policing in Sussex and nationally would endure.
She said: “Having steered Sussex Police through some difficult times your legacy is a compassionate, intelligent police force that people are proud to work for and that always strives to do the right thing.
“You have mentored and nurtured an outstanding generation of police leaders and on behalf of the people of Sussex our thanks for your unswerving public duty and integrity and my best wishes for the future.”