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Norfolk re-starts search for Chief

Norfolk is targeting the Strategic Command course after re-starting its search for a new Chief Constable.
Published - 18/10/2021 By - Chris Smith

Uncertainty surrounds one of the top jobs in policing after a recruitment process was met with a lack of interest from enough suitable candidates.

Norfolk has re-opened applications for its Chief Constable because not enough candidates applied.

That was despite the College of Policing contacting every qualified senior officer in the country.

The force’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, has extended the application date because the recruitment process wouldn’t have been rigorous enough to stand scrutiny.

His own position as transparancy lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners meant he was left with no choice.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “The role of Chief Constable for Norfolk brings with it a multitude of opportunities and I am committed to ensuring we are able to open the recruitment to as a wide a pool of candidates as possible.

“I was clear when I launched the recruitment that I wanted to attract a diverse field of candidates. Therefore, I will be reopening the process.”

Paul Sanford remains the Temporary Chief Constable having stepped up from Deputy Chief Constable.

The new deadline of 8 November has been set in the hopes that people who successfully complete the College of Policing’s strategic command course on 5 November will be eager enough to send in their CVs.

The PCC is also hoping officers who missed out on promotions over the summer will be ready to look for fresh opportunities.

But it means the force is set to have been without a permanent leader for six months.

Former Chief Constable Simon Bailey retired at the end of June and the initial search was opened in August for the job which comes with a £153, 282 salary.

The job specification hasn’t changed – including the five-year fixed term.

Norfolk has been hit by timing. The decision to appoint was delayed while the new PCC settled in post after May’s election.

But a flurry of moves over the summer mean the field of potential candidates has shrunk.

Staffordshire and Avon and Somerset both went out to recruitment at the same time as Norfolk.

Dyfed-Powys and Cleveland appointed in July and Humberside and West Mercia appointed in September, reducing the field of candidates.

The only other senior roles open at the moment are the Deputy Chief Constable of Dorset and the Assistant Chief Constable for Merseyside.

Norfolk’s team hope that senior officers within Staffordshire and Avon and Somerset may now come forward.

Mark Stokes, Chief Executive for Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We were surprised and disappointed but we were against two other forces at the same time. The new Chief Constable needs a clear mandate and the PCC made a commitment that it wouldn’t be a shoe-in.”

He added: “It’s a good job with a top-performing force. And the PCC is open to new ideas and innovation.”

Mr Orpen-Smellie added: “Norfolk is a fantastic county to live and work in and has a hard-working and dedicated police force working for the residents of the county.”

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