THE Chief Superintendent of Wigan and Leigh is leaving the police after 31 years as she has guided the force through some of its toughest years.

With Greater Manchester Police being placed into special measures in 2020 for failing to report tens of thousands of crimes, Emily Higham's appointment as Chief Superintendent was a way to shake up the force and place a district commander in each district.

The senior leadership shake up was intended to allow the force to better understand local concerns and get back to basics, with Chief Spt Higham promising to deliver an outstanding service two years ago.

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Leigh Journal: The district commander was appointed in 2021The district commander was appointed in 2021 (Image: GMP)

Speaking to the Journal after her appointment, the Chief Spt said that her main goals were to get the force out of special measures, drive a neighbourhood policing focus, and tackle domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour, and crimes with the night-time economy.

She was successful with her main goal, with the force taken out of its shameful status after being viewed to have made vast improvements with recorded and solved crimes, arrests, and response times.

Across Wigan and Leigh, the neighbourhood policing approach is viewed as being a big factor in getting out of special measures, with great improvements made in terms of relationships and intelligence received.

Leigh Journal: The Chief Spt’s main goal was to get GMP out of special measuresThe Chief Spt’s main goal was to get GMP out of special measures (Image: GMP)

Chief Spt Higham, who was also awarded a King's Policing Medal this year, said: "We were in special measures and there is no getting away from that, but I'm really proud of my team and the work we have done over the past two years to get out of this.

"We get to jobs far more quickly now and officers are far more available in the communities.

"The neighbourhood policing has paid dividends because we are now inundated with intelligence [...] and we have had lots of feedback that people are feeling safer in our town centres.

"There is always work to do but this shows that our communities want to engage with us and that trust is coming back."

Leigh Journal: The Chief Spt and Chief Constable with councillors and MPs at the launch of the TAU unit in LeighThe Chief Spt and Chief Constable with councillors and MPs at the launch of the TAU unit in Leigh (Image: GMP)

With Wigan and Leigh one of the highest performing districts across GMP, Chief Spt Higham explained that the force is now making double the number of monthly arrests compared to the early spell of special measures.

With more officers and increased intelligence from the community, the borough's district is also said to have closed thousands of open cases after its special measures spell.

Reports of anti-social behaviour incidents is also reported to have been cut down by 50 percent in Leigh town centre.

Leigh Journal: The Chief Spt is retiring after 31 years in the forceThe Chief Spt is retiring after 31 years in the force (Image: GMP)

The retiring Chief Spt added: "Wigan and Leigh has had the highest arrest rate in the force and the highest detection rate, and have doubled our monthly arrests.

"We have also seized the highest amount of money from the Greater Manchester districts, which can be spent on community initiatives.

"This shows that we have absolutely blasted criminal's doors down and we have definitely put baddies behind bars."

With numerous leadership roles across GMP, Chief Spt Higham said she is proud of the achievements she has made over her 31 year career, and takes comfort in the fact that there are much more women now employed across the force.

While the retiring police chief admitted that there are always improvements to be made in terms of making people feeling safe in the community, she said that GMP will be one of the outstanding forces in the country if it continues to make improvements.