Adam Simmonds

MSc Politics and Government

Adam Simmonds – the youngest police and crime commissioner in England – is successful and ambitious, and he credits Birkbeck with giving him the confidence to succeed.

Fascinated by politics from a young age, Adam chose to study an MSc in Politics and Government at Birkbeck when he was just 22. He had already studied Politics as an undergraduate at the University of Greenwich. His early political roles included working for Gary Streeter MP – the shadow secretary of state for international development – and joining the campaign to elect Jeffrey Archer as Mayor of London.

Adam decided to enrol on the one-year course at Birkbeck as he wanted to combine his work with evening study. He said: ‘Birkbeck was the only institution that offered opportunities to study in the evening. I was really pleased to be able to study in the Department of Politics as it has an excellent reputation, and it is right at the heart of political, economic and philosophical discussions.’

Today Adam still fondly remembers the buzz of students heading to their evening classes, and the intellectual stimulation of learning from his distinguished classmates, including businesspeople and journalists, as well as his lecturers. Adam said: ‘Birkbeck offered me an opportunity to make of this experience what I could. It provided a window on the world and an outlook that was not just academic. There was a really eclectic group of students around the table, and I was able to learn from them and their experiences. The course itself was top rate.’

Adam’s dissertation focused on how both Stalin and Roosevelt used the media in different ways for their own propaganda. He gained a Merit for his studies. Adam said: ‘I left Birkbeck with a huge amount of confidence, and I have absolutely achieved my ambition thanks to my studies.’

After leaving Birkbeck, Adam became a political adviser for Northamptonshire County Council. For the next 12 years, he worked in various roles within the Council, quickly assuming senior managerial responsibilities and becoming an assistant chief executive.

In 2012, Adam, aged 35, wanted a new challenge. In the same year, the Government created police and crime commissioners in each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. Adam was elected as the police and crime commissioner for Northamptonshire Police, making him the youngest of all the police and crime commissioners. His demanding job involves merging the local police and fire service, making budget cuts of £23m over five years, and building an “army” of more than 1,000 special constables. Adam has also been involved in creating the Public Safety, Crime and Justice Institute at the University of Northampton, and he is channelling his boundless energy into setting up a free school.

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