Head of Strategic Planning
Stephen Cargin is GSDM’s Head of Strategic Planning. In this role, he takes the lead on such matters as contingency planning and crisis management, peace-building, strategic project and performance management, change management, leadership development, and preventing violent extremism.
This position builds upon Stephen’s previous broad portfolio of operational, policy and planning experience relevant to security and disaster risk management acquired through 32 years within the strategic leadership and security sector. Joining the Royal Ulster Constabulary in January 1986, he served in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), a force of approximately 10,000 police and staff, until 2018 when he retired in the rank of Chief Superintendent.
Specifically, he has significant experience in the service delivery of policing in a context of some of the most demanding communities in Ireland and the United Kingdom, with severe terrorist threats together with sectarian conflict and division, including in the role of District Commander; overt and covert policing operations; police reform; developing and implementing strategies on countering violent extremism; as well as community engagement involving political leaders and power brokers in volatile, hard to reach communities.
Stephen’s key PSNI roles have included: Deputy Head of the PSNI Service Improvement Department (2015-2016), setting up the Legacy and Justice Department, for which he was Deputy Head (2016-2018) managing complex and contentious legacy related matters on broad ranging criminal justice, scientific and technical support, professional standards, internal discipline and anti-corruption and vetting; Strategic Lead for PSNI’s £3.6m ‘Body Worn Video’ Project (2016 – 2017); Head of Justice leading criminal justice reform (2015 – 2017); Gold Strategic Lead for the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (2015 – 2017); Strategic Lead alongside the Department of Justice, including securing changes to firearms legislation and fee structures in Northern Ireland resulting in greater efficiencies (2015); District Commander, City of Londonderry (2013-2015); pioneering, and Strategic Lead for, the ‘Faith in Policing Strategy’ partnership with faith groups (2007 – 2017); and as Gold Commander/Strategic Lead for major events hosted by Londonderry during its City of Culture year, with responsibility for planning the operational and strategic policing of 300 events, attracting 600,000 visitors, against a backdrop of severe terrorist threat to police. A further operational accomplishment was commanding a successful multi-agency rescue of 300 people trapped on Northern Ireland’s highest mountain in extremely challenging winter weather conditions, the largest such operation in the country’s history.
In his spare time, Stephen likes to walk his dog, spend time with his family, travel and engages in various charitable activities.