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Lincolnshire re-starts search for chief after admin error

Lincolnshire is re-starting its Chief Constable recruitment process after an error nearly led to disclosure of sensitive information.
Published - 05/10/2020 By - Chris Smith

Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has halted plans to confirm Derbyshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson as his new Chief Constable.

The force is starting again to find the replacement for Bill Skelly after an administrative error put confidentiality at risk.

Police Oracle understands that the problem does not relate to the candidates themselves but around discussions that caused procedural complications.

After taking legal advice, Mr Jones decided the selection has to be started again to protect the integrity of the process and the identity of people who had applied for the role in good faith.

A new process has been started - and is open to candidates who did not apply first time around. The senior officers who applied have been informed and given an apology.

Mr Jones has received reassurances that the new process will be different second time around.

Starting the process again is embarrassing for the force as it had been very public about the inital recruitment process. As well as two panel interview, there were also two Q and A sessions with officers from the force and community stakeholders.

The result was the decision by Mr Jones to select Paul Gibson, 46, who began his career as a PC in Lincolnshire in 1998 and spent 19 years in the force before leaving to take on the ACC role in Derbyshire Police.

Mr Jones said: “This delay is exceedingly frustrating, but these processes are complex and the guidance extensive. It is vital that we follow legislation, which we have done, but also that we can be transparent, without naming candidates publicly on how and why decisions were arrived at.”

He explained: “I could not put members of the Police and Crime Panel in the intolerable position of having to place information in the public domain that is specific to applicants in the process.

“Allowing such a discussion would have been totally wrong, not something Panel members would have been comfortable with I’m sure, and not something my personal integrity would permit.”

He is confident there is still time to confirm the new chief and ensure a suitable handover from Mr Skelly.

The PCC said: “It is not unheard of to encounter blips in such challenging processes and I want to make clear that this in no way reflects upon the candidates who took part. They are all very welcome to enter the fresh process.”

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