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Norfolk's new Chief job isn't a shoe-in for locals, says PCC

Norfolk?s Police and Crime Commissioner has written to every force in the country in a bid to find a new Chief Constable.
Published - 18/08/2021 By - Chris Smith

The next Norfolk Chief Constable isn’t guaranteed to come from within the force’s ranks, according to the final decision maker.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie (Con) told Police Oracle he wants an open competition and reassured applicants the force won’t favour internal applicants because they are the safe option.

His comments followed the beginning of the process to find a successor to Simon Bailey who retired as Chief after eight years in the role.

After deciding to retire, Mr Bailey organised for Paul Sanford to step up from his role as Deputy Chief Constable to act as Temporary Chief. . 

Mr Sanford has served in Norfolk since joining up in 1999. With him is Eamonn Bridger who was recently promoted to Assistant Chief Constable and T/Deputy Chief Constable Simon Megicks, who transferred to the force in 2017.

The PCC has written to every force in the country encouraging other Chiefs and senior officers to apply for the £153,282 a year role with the county that has the UK’s lowest crime rate.

“I’ve reflected on this,” he told Police Oracle. “At the end of the day, it is the most important decision I will make. If you get the leadership right, things fall into place. Get it wrong and things start to unravel.”

He added: “I would like a field to choose from.”

The selection process has the added problem that more than a dozen forces have brought in a new leader during the last year meaning there are fewer potential candidates to follow on from “inspirational” Mr Bailey.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “There are quite a lot of constabularies changing Chief Constables. I understand there are not a lot of suitable candidates so I’m writing to all Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners asking them to encourage their talent to apply.”

He explained: “One of the things I’m very keen to do is to signal I’m running a competition to find the best candidate from an open field. It isn’t a done deal.”

Applicants will face a two-day selection process that includes two panel interviews – one of which will be local stakeholders.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “I want to make sure that the idea that you can write a good CV and bluff your way through a 45 minute meeting doesn’t hold sway.”

Benefits include a car and a £4,000 housing allowance. A relocation allowance will go to an external applicant.

The closing date for applicants is 13 September and interviews take place on 5 and 6 October.

The PCC said: “My approach is not confrontational but collegiate. I look to the Chief Constable to sit on the same level; me looking to the political sphere and the Chief looking to the policing sphere.”

Applicants who wish to find out more about the role should contact Mark Stokes, Chief Executive, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk on Mark.Stokes@norfolk.police.uk

The recruitment pack is HERE

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