A police inspector responsible for overseeing Hampshire Constabulary’s police response to rural crime has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Inspector Lou Hubble has been recognised for policing services provided to the rural communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Inspector Hubble, who has 20 years policing service with Hampshire Constabulary, has been instrumental in developing and delivering the rural policing strategy, which has led to a huge increase in public confidence in the force’s ability to successfully tackle rural criminality.
She has always had an interest in wildlife, and became a Wildlife Crime Officer as a Police Constable in 1999. As a Sergeant in 2006, following a series of hare coursing incidents in the Test Valley area, she became aware of concerns being raised by the rural community about the police’s ability to deal with crimes of this type. Inspector Hubble successfully lobbied for a dedicated rural crime team to be set up.
This saw the creation of Country Watch, initially run as a pilot within the western area of Hampshire and following a forcewide review of rural policing in 2010, the Country Watch scheme was rolled out across all parts of the force. It is now embedded as part of the rural policing response across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The review also identified a number of recommendations, which saw Inspector Hubble appointed as the force lead for Country Watch and tasked with developing and implementing an action plan to coordinate and deliver effective policing within rural communities. This role developed in 2013 to become the force’s Strategic Rural Policing Inspector responsible for delivering the force’s rural strategy.
Through her leadership and drive, Inspector Hubble has worked tirelessly to ensure the concerns of the rural community are represented at a strategic level and their specific needs are recognised. This has included setting up the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Rural Partnership Board, building relationships with key community stakeholders, designing and implementing an extensive training package for officers, controllers and call takers to educate them on rural crime types and deployment considerations, and supporting other force departments such as firearms licensing, investigations and intelligence analysts.
Community engagement has also been a priority, with attendance at a large number of rural events, partnership conferences and dedicated policing operations. Key to this success has also been the introduction of a partnership publication Rural Times and the community messaging system Hampshire CountryWatch which allows police officers and staff to directly communicate with rural communities with appeals for information, crime prevention advice and information and meet the team events.
Inspector Hubble has also assisted other emergency and criminal justice organisations in developing and improving their response to rural issues.
Commenting on her nomination, Inspector Hubble said: "I am extremely proud of my achievements and am honoured to be in receipt of such a prestigious award. It is a huge personal accolade to be recognised at this level. It demonstrates continued commitment from Hampshire Constabulary in the Country Watch team and their close work with our rural communities and partnership organisations. Rural policing brings its own unique challenges and I have enjoyed forging strong relationships with many key people, working as part of a small dedicated specialist team serving the rural communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight."
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: "I am absolutely delighted to see Inspector Lou Hubble recognised in this way. She has been absolutely tireless in her efforts to build trust and confidence within our rural communities and shown huge leadership in ensuring we understand the challenges of policing a force which is 85 per cent rural. I am sure our colleagues, partners and the public will join me in congratulating Lou on her well-deserved OBE."