Meet the new St Albans Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant
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The new St Albans Neighbourhood Sergeant is using his personal experience of growing up in a crime-ridden area of West London to help shape the way his team deals with crime and anti-social behaviour in St Albans.
Sergeant Simon Totten took on the role of leading the St Albans Central, North and West Neighbourhood Team, from Sergeant Paul Pickett, who is now working at police Headquarters, on New Year’s day (1 January 2024).
With a background as a Scorpion officer dealing with warrants, he said: “I’m very proactive. I want to disrupt criminals and have a positive impact in the community. It’s not always about locking people up, it may be that other agencies need to be involved.
“I grew up in an area where most people my age were involved in crime and I could have easily done the same. I knew I had to get out of the area and make different decisions or I would have ended up in prison with my friends and neighbours at the time. This gives me some empathy towards some people who have not been given the best start in life. I am keen to intervene to help them so the local community doesn’t suffer and they don’t automatically end up in prison. However, I’m no push over and I am here to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by trying to prevent it from happening in the first place.”
Very familiar with St Albans, Simon has worked as an intervention PC (responding to 999 calls), as a Scorpion officer (dealing with warrants and being proactive) and as a safer neighbourhood officer. He was promoted to Neighbourhood Sergeant. “I really wanted to come back to St Albans,” he said. “I know the people we need to target, the problem areas and I know a lot of the officers, which makes it easier in a new role.”
He is keen to continue working in schools and supporting the Mini Police scheme. “I didn’t have the best experience growing up and I saw friends being arrested. I want to encourage young people on to the right path, away from knife crime and drugs and the best way to do this is early intervention.”
One of the jobs he is proud of is when he worked as a St Albans Scorpion officer and led on closing down the ‘Nino’ drugs line that was running from Bardwell Court by offenders from London. The main offender was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs in 2021.
Simon moved to Hertfordshire as a teenager and later studied Chemistry at university. He worked on ships in the North Sea before joining Hertfordshire Constabulary. “I was interested always in policing. I still enjoy every day at work and I enjoy making a positive impact on people’s daily lives. As a team, we will continue to be involved in community engagement, so we know the problems facing local people. I’d encourage people to let us know issues affecting your quality of life via St Albans Echo.”
Simon lives with his family in Hertfordshire. He enjoys hiking and has done the Three Peaks challenge. He also plays squash and football.