UWE award honorary degree to Steve Pilkington CBE QPM

Issue date: 22 November 2005


Issue date: 23/11/05

The University of the West of England is awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Science to Dr Steve Pilkington CBE QPM in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and his contribution, whilst Chief Constable, to the local and regional community. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Applied Sciences on Wednesday 23 November at 14.45 at Bristol Cathedral.

Stephen Charles Pilkington was born in Wherwell, near Andover, Hampshire and educated at Andover Grammar School. He read Biology at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, graduating with first class honours. In 1972 following completion of a Doctorate of Philosophy in Plant Physiology, Steve Pilkington joined the Metropolitan Police Service, and began a long and successful career as a police officer.

Promoted through the ranks, Steve Pilkington was selected for promotion to Chief Inspector in 1984. Whilst awaiting promotion, he was posted to a newly formed strategic planning unit for the south east of London and seconded for six months to the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington DC. He worked with Professor Herman Goldstein of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on the adaption of problem solving techniques to resolve long standing community safety problems. On returning to the United Kingdom, in addition to a project concerned with implementation of a problem solving philosophy, he was also involved in research on a variety of other contemporary initiatives including Crimestoppers and Neighbourhood Watch.

Further promotion followed, to the role of: Operational Chief Inspector; Superintendent; Operational Superintendent; Chief Superintendent; Commander; and, Deputy Assistant Commissioner. As Chief Superintendent, Battersea Division, Steve Pilkington introduced a local community policing system and developed a comprehensive local community action infrastructure, encouraging residents to become directly involved in improving community safety in their local area. As Commander, Central Area HQ, he was responsible for the policing of the central London Boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, which contain most of the government, diplomatic and royal premises of the capital and host most major national demonstrations. As Deputy Assistant Commissioner, he was responsible for the development of a range of Metropolitan Police Service strategies and policies.

Steve Pilkington joined Avon and Somerset Constabulary as Chief Constable in 1998. He initiated the introduction of ‘geographic’ policing, in which teams of officers covered a particular beat and tackled the high crime rate in the Avon and Somerset Force area, reducing target crime levels to their lowest for 20 years. He promoted a ‘problem-solving’ policing style where officers worked with residents, local authorities and other agencies to solve underlying community problems rather than simply responding to calls. Steve Pilkington’s expertise in research and biology, which had initially led him to investigate a career in forensic science and prompted an interest in the police, resulted in the development of ‘geographic policing’ accompanied by massive investment in scientific support ensuring widespread access to forensic investigating techniques involving DNA screening.

Before retiring as Chief Constable in January 2005, Steve Pilkington took part in a cycle ride to all police stations in the force area, raising £70,000 for Children’s Hospice South West. He is also a respite care volunteer for HCPT: The Pilgrimage Trust which takes 2,000 disabled children away for a week at Easter.

Steve Pilkington was awarded: the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal; the Queens Police Medal for distinguished service in the Metropolitan Police Service in 1998; and, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. In 2005, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to policing and a Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset.

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