A new neighbourhood sergeant in St Albans is hoping to use his experience of growing up in West London to improve the city's policing approach.

Sergeant Simon Totten, the newly appointed Neighbourhood Sergeant for the St Albans Central, North and West Safer Neighbourhood Team, took on the role on January 1 and is hoping to improve the way crime and anti-social behaviour are dealt with locally.

After growing up in an area of high crime, Sgt Totten said: "I grew up in an area where most people my age were involved in crime and I could have easily done the same.

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"I knew I had to get out of the area and make different decisions or I would have ended up in prison with my friends and neighbours at the time."

Sgt Totten said that these experiences have given him an understanding towards people who may not have had the best start in life.

Having also formerly worked in St Albans as an intervention PC, Sgt Totton also knows the area well.

He said: "I really wanted to come back to St Albans. I know the people we need to target, the problem areas and I know a lot of the officers, which makes it easier in a new role."

As well as this, Sgt Totten also has previous experience as a Scorpion officer responsible for warrants.

He said: "I’m very proactive.

"I want to disrupt criminals and have a positive impact in the community.

"It’s not always about locking people up, it may be that other agencies need to be involved."

The new sergeant also said that he wants to stop prevent crimes taking place to begin with.

He said: "I’m no push over and I am here to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by trying to prevent it from happening in the first place."

So far, Totten has already proposed key strategies including working in schools and supporting initiatives such as the 'Mini Police' scheme.

The previous neighbourhood sergeant for St Albans, Sergeant Paul Pickett, is now working at police headquarters.