NORTHUMBRIA Police have appointed a new head of operations to oversee the work of the force’s specialist departments.

Supt. Helena Barron, who joined the force in 2006, will be tasked with deploying police dogs, horses, firearms officers and speed boats across the region as part of her new role.

She will also manage the motor patrols department, Metro unit, airport neighbourhood teams and the planning and resourcing of events across the force area.

Supt. Barron said: “The operations department plays a vital role in supporting front-line policing and often attend some of the most dangerous jobs.

“I think it is one of the most exciting places to work across the force and every single day I get to be involved in something new so it is a real challenge.

“We are recruiting officers at the minute and, at some point, they may decide that they want to be a dog handler or one of our specialist divers.

“You don’t get that variety in other jobs and so I would encourage anyone who fancies something a bit different to put in an application.”

Supt. Barron continued to say she was pleased that the role was offered to a woman in an often male-dominated department.

She said: “The department has always been seen by the public as fast cars, dogs and police in riot gear and there are a lot of male officers in these roles.

“But there are also a lot of amazing women in the department who do fantastic work in keeping our streets safe.

“I hope, as a woman, that I can be a role model for female officers and for those women out there who are considering a career in the force.”

More recently, Supt. Barron worked as a superintendent in Northern Area Command where she oversaw policing in rural Northumberland and North Tyneside.