The new chief constable of North Wales has revealed how investigating the horrific triple murder of a young mother and her two children gave him a passion for protecting the victims of domestic violence.
Gulf war veteran Carl Foulkes, who hails originally from Caergwrle, near Wrexham, was speaking after his appointment was confirmed by the North Wales Police and Crime Panel.
They backed the choice of the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones, of Mr Foulkes, 47, as his preferred candidate following a rigorous two-day interview process in early August.
As well as moving to North Wales to live, Mr Foulkes has also promised to make it a priority to learn Welsh.
In fact, he has already signed up for an intensive course at the National Welsh Language Centre at the former quarrying village of Nant Gwrtheyrn in Gwynedd during his annual leave in October from his current job as Deputy Chief Constable in Merseyside.
He will take up his new role heading up North Wales Police on Monday, November 5.
Born at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Mr Foulkes spent the first few years of his life in Caergwrle before the family moved to Scotland and later to the East Midlands because of his father’s work as an aircraft engineer.
After serving in the Royal Navy and seeing active service in the first Gulf War, he spent 10 years working for British Transport Police before joining West Midlands Police prior to becoming the deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police.
He has national portfolio responsibility for Assisting Offender Debriefing under SOCPA, Open Source Investigations and UK Protected Persons Service (UKPPS).
Mr Foulkes is married with a teenage son and enjoys outdoor pursuits including running, walking and cycling.
He described being appointed as the chief constable of North Wales as the pinnacle of his career and immediately pledged to crack down on serious and organised crime and protect vulnerable people like the victims of domestic violence
Mr Foulkes said: “I am proud and privileged to be the chief constable of North Wales – I’m not sure many chief officers get the opportunity to be the chief constable in the place that they were born, where their family live, where they genuinely love the area. I’m delighted to be coming back here.
“I am also really excited about the opportunities to make a real difference to the communities of North Wales.
“I want to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner around diverting addicts away from drugs and being more preventative and problem-solving in our approach- and working with partners to be more preventative.
“I want to ensure that our officers have state of the art equipment and technology so we can do things like fingerprinting out on the street and accept dash cam footage and other information via social media.
“I want our officers to operate as effectively on the street and in people’s homes as they do on the internet when they are in a police station.
“I can’t do any of that without the right people so I want to be very clear about how I support them, their wellbeing, their mental health and their physical health.
“We need to make sure we have an organisation that’s fit for the next five years, not just fit for here and now.”
The awful case that led Mr Foulkes to dedicating himself to combating domestic abuse happened in Walsall on Christmas Eve in 2003 when a builder, Spencer Smith, 30, killed his 25-year-old girlfriend, Lisa Higgins, and their two little daughters, Keighley, six, and Demmy, three.
Smith was charged with murder but was found hanged in prison before he could stand trial for stabbing them to death.
Mr Foulkes said: “I was still relatively inexperienced as an investigator and it was very difficult.
“Luckily I had a fantastic team that worked around me and supported me. It’s probably where I got my passion for vulnerability and domestic abuse.
“When you see something like that in such a young family that had everything going for them, you realise that we need to do something different for the future. We shouldn’t be having those incidents.
“What I learned from that homicide with regards to vulnerability and domestic abuse very much chimes with the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s priorities.
“I think when you read the PCCs priorities he’s very clear that the one thing that runs through his Police and Crime Plan is vulnerability and reducing harm.
“My two main priorities will be around protecting vulnerable people, including victims of domestic violence, and also tackling serious and organised crime, particularly the emerging and growing threat of County Lines where criminal gangs from places like Liverpool and Manchester seek new territories for their drug dealing networks.
“We need to drive out serious organised crime that so that people are happy to live here and feel confident in their communities.
“But the first three months for me will be very much around internal and external engagement, getting out and about to meet our staff and our partners.
“Being the chief constable of North Wales is something I am passionate about and I am deeply committed to doing the very best job I can.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: “I am delighted that the Police and Crime Panel have endorsed the appointment of Carl Foulkes as our new chief constable.
“As well as being a first-class chief officer, he is a man of great vision and integrity and will build on the excellent work of his predecessor Mark Polin in shaping a force that is effective and efficient whilst being responsive to new and emerging crimes.
“With ever diminishing budgets, we should not underestimate the scale of the challenges that lie ahead, but I feel sure we have the right person to do the job.”