AFTER four and a half years as District Commander Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin is leaving Derry following a temporary promotion to Assistant Chief Constable Operational Support.
Mr Martin said he is looking forward to the challenge of a new role but is genuinely sad to leave a city he has come to love and a community he holds in high regard.
“When I first took up this job I was acutely aware of the perception of policing in the North West, particularly in Derry. The challenges before me were clear. While huge strides have happened in terms of policing reforms and community acceptance, a legacy of mistrust was still something we as a Police Service had to address. It is my belief that we have made a lot of progress in the last few years and I hope that I made my own contribution in that regard. While it would be easy for me to point to falling crime rates and service efficiencies as a benchmark for success, the truth is I hope I am leaving behind a District that feels their police officers care about their safety and a community that has more confidence in the service we provide.
“I am fortunate to have led a team of dedicated and professional colleagues who come into work everyday determined to give their best to the people they serve. These last few years have not been without difficulties and we have seen on more than one occasion the resolve that still exists within a small group who would like to see great harm brought against our officers. Their actions, although dangerous and without thought for the innocent, are in stark contrast to the spirit and compassion of the many people I have met in my time here. What keeps us going is a sense of vocation and the kind words, letters and prayers of the majority of people who have stood with us to condemn those anti-peace individuals.
“My time as Commander has not been without tragedy. The hardest part of the job has been those phone calls telling me that we have lost one of our own. Most recently it was the untimely death of Constable Philippa Reynolds who lost her life in a car crash in February. Her death really struck a cord with the people of this city and I know the support of the wider community was of great comfort to her family, friends and colleagues. The loss of every one of my officers is something that will stay with me and my thoughts are with their families as they continue to come to terms with their own loss.”
Mr Martin said it is always difficult moving on but: “I leave with many, many fond memories of places, people and experiences...I have been very lucky to have overseen the policing operations for some of the city’s most memorable and historic events, not least of all this busy year of culture. This has been a year of transformation for Derry and the renewed hope and spirit that exists within its people is overwhelming. Mainly I am proud to have been a part of this District, and I leave with not only good memories, but lasting friendships, and the knowledge that as long as we work together towards that common goal of peace, anything is possible.”