After enjoying a successful 30-year career working as a police officer in the Northamptonshire Police, new Dhekelia Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Sean Bell has experienced most things in the line of duty.
But after arriving in Cyprus to be greeted by two weeks self-isolation and a subsequent island-wide lockdown as a result of COVID-19, it hasn’t been the smoothest of transitions for the North Wales born officer.
Face to face meetings with his staff were replaced by video calls on Skype and whilst not being the ideal way to meet his new team, the divisional commander explained it did have its benefits.
“It was not ideal obviously, but at the very least, I was able to jump on to the morning briefs and meet my team that way and that was far more useful than having 14 days locked away with nothing to do but unpack.”
For many new members of the Bases community, arriving in Cyprus can feel like a huge culture shift but for the vastly experienced veteran, who’s duties have previously included managing the policing at the world-famous Silverstone Grand Prix – which saw more than 300,000 people go through its gates on race weekend – Cyprus feels more like a home away from home.
He explained: “My family and I have visited Cyprus between seven and eight times previously, so we know the island very well indeed. We love the people, we love the culture, the weather obviously and the food, so I was delighted to be able to continue my policing career out here in the SBAs.”
Chief Superintendent Bell’s previous visits to Cyprus have taken him more frequently to the Paphos region, so he is now keen to sample what Dhekelia has to offer, both professionally and personally.
“From a working perspective, this is a very different challenge to what I have experienced before,” he continued. “The ESBA has a number of policing issues which I have not faced in my career before, bird trapping for example is one.
“I must admit, my knowledge of the subject was very limited prior to looking into the job but I have made a point of increasing that since I knew I would be coming here.
“The Administration and the officers here have been working extremely hard in getting the problem under control and I can see that they have done an amazing job in tackling it.
“We need to make sure we do not let up, the problem clearly still exists and we must make sure we don’t take our foot of the pedal and continue with the great work that has been done previously to eliminate the problem.”
Now the divisional commander has been able to firmly establish himself in the ESBA after the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, he said he looks forward to meeting more members of the community he serves and working alongside his “professional team of officers”.
“As a divisional commander, I hope I can bring my experience of working in the UK for the past 30 years to the team here and share as much of my knowledge as I can. The officers I have working here have already impressed me with their work ethic and attitude and I am looking forward to working alongside them.
“I am also excited to meet more members of the SBA community, those living in the villages and the community leaders who we liaise with regularly. This job is all about community policing and I want to make sure we continue to have a close working relationship with all of them.”