It was a cruel, cutting comment from a snobby career counselor that spurred young Rob Cousen.
The 48-year-old, who grew up in a town hall, has just been appointed Greater Manchester Police chief superintendent for his hometown of Tameside.
He has spent 25 years in the force, starting in uniform before working his way up through the ranks until his most recent promotion.
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It’s a resume to be proud of – but one that a career counselor at his school thought would be outside of Chf Supt Cousen because of his background.
“At the time, I wanted to be either a football player or a police officer,” he said.
“I was told I had no chance of either – so I proved they were 50% wrong there.
“I lived on a property in Smallshaw, Ashton, and I really think it was a bit of snobbery.
“But I’ve always proved people wrong. I like a challenge.”
After starting on the beat in 1996, Chf Supt Cousen continued as a detective chief inspector and a superintendent in Tameside.
He is firmly rooted in the area where many of his friends and family still live, and he says his experiences growing up in Ashton have guided him throughout his political career.
Chf Supt Cousen said: “When I was growing up, there was a real sense of community. People did not have that much, but we all cared.
“But it also gives you a really good insight into the problems that people face in their daily lives.
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“Sometimes, to understand people’s problems, you have to walk in their shoes.
“I’m not saying in any way that I’ve walked in the shoes of any person in Tameside, but I have an understanding and that has helped me through my political career without a doubt.
“It’s one of the things that has been a real motivator in terms of making Tameside safer – as it used to be for me, my sister and my brother to go to school without fear of anyone approaching U.S.”
In his last role before becoming Tameside’s new chief superintendent, Chf Supt Cousen was appointed to work on GMP’s plan for improvement following the force’s shocking report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
He says it’s an improvement plan he ‘lives and breathes’ as the force tries to turn its reputation around by ‘getting back to basics’.
Chf Supt Cousen wants to see Tameside police respond more quickly to incidents, make more arrests and protect victims of crime – especially those who are victims of domestic violence.
Targeted days of action will take place on topics that matter to Tameside residents – from antisocial behavior to problem parking outside of schools.
It is also hoped that a focus on proactive policing will help Tameside police meet demand by targeting repeat offenders – giving the force more time to focus on prevention in the future.
“Now it’s about us listening to our communities and making sure we respond to these concerns as quickly, efficiently and effectively as we can,” said Chf Supt Cousen.
“We have failed victims in the past, let’s be honest. We need to build that trust and confidence – and the way we do that is by providing a really good service to the victims.
“We want to make it a really difficult place for criminals to operate because we’re going to get after them.”
He added: “I will never stop crime completely, I know that.
“But what I can do is make sure we make the best use of our resources, that we bring people to justice, but more importantly that we protect the victims – that we take care of victims of domestic violence, we take care of children. , we stop the distress that drugs bring into our society, we stop people driving at ridiculous speeds and causing harm to other road users.
“It’s my absolute commitment, I’m really motivated and passionate, probably with the added incentive that it’s my people – this is where my family and friends live, and this is where I was born and raised.”
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