The meaning of numbers has been a focus for Superintendent Amy Gledden throughout her career, and most recently it’s a drop in the number of thefts and vehicle crime in the Southern Metro Region Division 2 that is getting results.
Over the course of her 20-year career, Supt Gledden has used the numbers - crime statistics and trends - to influence police resourcing and reduce crime.
After graduating from the Victoria Police Academy in 1996 Supt Gledden had policing roles across metropolitan Melbourne and in the Force Response Unit, before moving into her first role in strategic intelligence.
This sparked her interest, and she began tertiary study in statistical research, then took time off policing to work as a senior manager with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
On returning to Victoria Police as a sergeant in intelligence, she gained a position heading up the Specialist Intelligence Services Division. For this, she resigned from the ranks and spent four years in the public service position establishing policies and procedures that would see Victoria Police’s use of statistics and intelligence analysis improve.
“Delivering consistent intelligence processes and statistical/mapping forecasting tools helped lift intelligence to the forefront of operational and strategic decision making,” she said.
In January 2016, she put the uniform back on and rejoined Victoria Police as a superintendent.
She is now number crunching with a different purpose, but while her career has changed in many ways, there are also a lot of similarities.
Predicting where crime might occur, using geo-mapping and looking at statewide trends was a big part of her early roles and is something she now uses day-to-day in the Southern Metro Region, where she leads more than 500 police to improve safety.
“One thing we picked up on early was the increase in car thefts in the region,” she said.
“We had lots of burglaries and vehicle crime. We knew it was a statewide problem and have been able to reduce it.
“In my division we’re seeing a decrease in these crimes for the first time in a long time.”
But it wasn’t easy.
“We focused on offenders. Their reach is far greater than it used to be,” she said.
“In Southern Metro we’ve seen mobile offenders with a reach across the state. Most don’t live where they offend and they often steal cars to commit other crimes.”
“We’ve focused on clearing warrants and recidivist offenders, being quick to get out and proactively make arrests.”
Back at the police station, Supt Gledden is in her element.
“Being able to be closer to the frontline and have a direct impact on the safety of my members and the community is what I enjoy.
“I was so passionate about intelligence, but I love being able to support my members who do a really good job.”
Even with her experience in analysing intelligence, reflecting on her time as a young police officer, Supt Gledden said she couldn’t have predicted what her career had in store for her.
“Working in the city and Collingwood Police Station was a big learning curve,” she said.
“I was 19 years old, quite shy and lacked confidence. Being so young and exposed to situations I didn’t know existed in the community, I wouldn’t have believed where I am now.”
Editorial: Maria Carnovale
Photography: Courtesy of Leader Newspapers
Reviewed 11 February 2019