Portsmouth’s top cop leaves for senior role after a year in the job

A SENIOR police officer charged with combating crime in the city has left her post after one year in the job.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 6:15 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:44 pm
Superintendent Maggie Blyth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180320-8651)

Superintendent Maggie Blyth had been Portsmouth’s police district commander from January last year.

But now after being accepted onto a three-month strategic command course Supt Blyth, who has been succeeded by Supt Steve Burridge, will await a new posting if she passes.

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Child protection expert Supt Blyth was recruited outside of policing in a direct-entry scheme, becoming a warranted officer in November 2016 and taking on the policing of Portsmouth after just more than a year in the job.

Posting online, the senior officer wished her successor well. Replying to a naval officer’s praise on Twitter, she said there was ‘a most enjoyable naval/policing partnership in the best of cities’.

She told The News: ‘It’s been a massive privilege to be Portsmouth district commander and I have enjoyed working with such professional teams in the city.

‘I am also pleased and excited to take on whatever role I am next given in policing.’

Supt Blyth has more than 30 years of experience in senior posts in the criminal justice system.

She was accepted on the course after passing the Senior Police National Assessment Centre initial phase.

That has included leading a child sexual exploitation inquiry into the abuse of more than 300 children in Oxford, being a member of the parole board and working in government on the Youth Justice Board.

Direct entry recruits for superintendent positions have been placed throughout England.

They undertake an 18-month course, learning the letter of the law in policing while also taking operational tours of duty in the varied roles officers hold.

But the scheme came under fire just this week after an advert was posted online and said: 'Searching for a varied and exciting career where you don't have to start at the bottom?'

Police officers took to Twitter to criticise the use of ‘bottom’ – claiming they see themselves at the front line.

A College of Policing review of the direct entry scheme, which includes detectives and inspectors, is due to finish in March.