What does a High Sheriff do?

In summary, the role of High Sheriff is as follows:

  • To uphold and enhance the ancient Office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to your County during the year of Office.
  • To lend active support to the principal organs of the Constitution within their county – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law-enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, and all recognised church and faith groups.
  • To ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges; to attend on them at Court and to offer them hospitality.
  • To support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate.
  • To take an active part in supporting and promoting voluntary organisations within a county.

Being appointed as a modern-day High Sheriff gives you the most unique opportunity.

With it now being a mainly ceremonial and ambassadorial role, it means that for 12 months you can meet, see and visit just about anyone and anywhere.  You can use your term in office to promote a particular theme or interest as it is up to each individual to choose their focus, but always with crime prevention and community cohesion in mind.

The key events of the calendar from Mayor Making, the many services at Hereford Cathedral, Armistice wreath laying, Christmas carol services are usually attended by the High Sheriff. You will support the Lord-Lieutenant at all times and you will very likely be invited to a Royal Garden party.

As soon as you take office, you will meet with the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chief Constable and his team, and the Superintendent for the Local Policing Authority for Herefordshire.  You will have police cadets appointed to you who will accompany you on official duties.  Prisons and rehabilitation centres in neighbouring counties will invite you to visit.  You make connections with other emergency services, to the probation services and to other agencies involved with crime prevention, particularly among young people.

The judiciary plays a large part of the High Sheriff’s diary.  You will meet all kinds of judges living and working within the county and you are expected to entertain these and visiting judges, if applicable.  Likewise, with the magistracy, there are close ties with the Bench of Herefordshire Magistrates. You will be invited to attend court sittings of all kinds from Crown Court to the Coroners Court and you will find out how justice is served in the county.

And from day one in office, you can expect a plethora of invitations to arrive.  Charities and organisations, both large and small will look for your support, to thank their people and to help promote their work.  You attend events, receptions, seminars, make official visits from opening a new community centre to turning on the Christmas lights.  Whatever background you come from, you learn a huge amount from these encounters.  You find out how your county really works, how services are delivered and who are the key pragmatists.