Just days after announcing their new acting deputy police chief, the London Police Services Board has named Deputy Chief of Operations Steve Williams as the new chief of police.

On his priorities Williams says, "We have some serious challenges in the City of London right now. Public health challenges, the opioid epidemic, we have a homeless population, poverty, mental illness. And all of the above work together sometimes and create a significant workload for the police.

"And then there’s the human factor as well. There’s people suffering on the street. So we want to work together with our community partners, whether that’s London Cares or the Salvation Army, the shelters, whomever. Mental illness is a big part of that as well. That’s a big priority as far as the day to day policing and what our officers are doing on the street."

The search for a new chief began when current Chief John Pare announced his retirement back in January. Almost immediately discussions within the board were focused on the goal of modernizing London’s police services.

On Monday the board announced the appointment of Trish McIntyre to the role of acting deputy police chief, the first woman to fill that position.

McIntyre is seen as a rising star with the service and is expected to eventually fill the role permanently.

Speaking after Williams' appointment she says, "It really is a time to drive innovation and change in an organization and I think we’ve always had great momentum in that regard and this will continue. Always when there’s a change in leadership you worry about that stalling potentially, but as Steve as our new chief that’ll just drive forward and continue."

Pare is set to retire at the end of June, and the Change of Command ceremony will be held June 19.

Williams is 27-year veteran of the London police force, and has served in a variety of roles. He has also been awarded commendations for drug and homicide investigations.

Susan Toth, chair of the hiring committee, adds, "From the beginning he really did stand out and I think that’s the way that I would frame that. It was a combination of that. He’s somebody who comes from both a lot of experience in policing, but as well as a academic, evidence-based policing side."

Currently holding multiple post-secondary degrees, Williams is in the process of completing a Master's degree in Applied Criminology and Police Management at Cambridge University.