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Police chief launches ‘ask the people’ consultation over new chief constable

Police chief launches ‘ask the people’ consultation over new chief constable

🕔13.Jul 2015

Public consultation will play a key role in the appointment of the next West Midlands chief constable for the first time, it has been announced.

The successor to Chris Sims is to be chosen with the help of a citizens’ panel who will assess candidates and provide advice on the best person for the job.

The unusual approach was confirmed by Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who gets the final say on who should replace Mr Sims.

Mr Jamieson said he wanted to make the process as open as possible and would involve the people of the West Midlands by “asking what they think are the qualities, skills and experience the next chief constable needs to have, as well as what his or her priorities should be”.

He also intends to create a youth panel to get the views of young people.

Mr Sims, 55, announced he was taking early retirement last month.

Mr Jamieson said it was important the next chief constable was in touch with “the concerns and aspirations” of younger people.

Mr Jamieson added:

Appointing a new chief constable is a big decision and that’s why I want to have as much input from the people of the West Midlands as possible.

There are things that chief constables of every police force must do, whichever force they lead, but I want local people to tell me what special qualities and characteristics they want from the West Midlands’ next chief constable.

We are a large and diverse region and our police force is the second largest in England, it is therefore only correct that I seek as much involvement from the community as possible to make sure that the public have a chief constable who is fully accountable to them as well as myself.

Whoever gets the top job will inherit a range of severe financial difficulties.

Government grant reductions mean that West Midlands Police has suffered budget cuts totalling £120 million over the past five years and expects to lose a further £100 million by 2020. With 1,500 uniformed police jobs already having disappeared and a further 1,000 jobs expected to go the force will soon be the smallest in its 40 year history.

Almost 16 per cent of uniformed officers are planning to leave the service within the next two years according to a national survey by the Police Federation of England and Wales. Low morale and the impact of the job on their health and their personal or family life were all major factors in their decision to quit.

The new chief constable will oversee the force’s relationship with private sector partners Accenture. The consultancy is being paid £25 million to help the force become more efficient through better use of technology.

Timetable for the chief constable selection process:

  • 9 July 2015 public consulted on what they think are the qualities, skills and experience the next chief constable needs to have, as well as what his or her priorities should be.
  • 24 July 2015 complete consultation.
  • August process to appoint members of the citizens and youth Panels.
  • 1 September 2015 chief constable post to be advertised.
  • 22 September 2015 closing date for applications.
  • 30 September 2015 shortlisting of candidates.
  • 15 and 16 October 2015 assessment days for candidates
  • 23 November 2015 police and crime panel confirmation hearing.
  • Early 2016 new chief constable to begin their role.

This page on the Commissioner’s website has more information on how to get involved in the appointment process.

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