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Norfolk police chief joins Met

PUBLISHED: 08:57 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:26 03 July 2010

Norfolk chief constable Ian McPherson last night announced he was quitting the force to take up a top job with the Metropolitan police.

In an official statement, bosses at Norfolk police congratulated Mr McPherson on the “prestigious appointment” and praised him for his vision and effort in revolutionising the way the force is run since joining in 2007.

Norfolk chief constable Ian McPherson last night announced he was quitting the force to take up a top job with the Metropolitan police.

In an official statement, bosses at Norfolk police congratulated Mr McPherson on the “prestigious appointment” and praised him for his vision and effort in revolutionising the way the force is run since joining in 2007.

But members of the rank and file expressed surprise at his decision which comes just six months after he reassured officers that his future lies in Norfolk. They called for stability amid concerns that impending funding cuts could render many of the chief's initiatives - including putting more bobbies on the beat - unsustainable.

Negotiations between Norfolk Police Authority and their Metropolitan police equivalents will take place over the coming days. But Mr McPherson is expected to take up his new £176,000 role as Assistant Commissioner (Territorial Policing) by Christmas, leaving deputy chief constable Ian Learmonth in temporary charge.

In his new job he will command about 30,000 officers and staff, taking the lead in policing the capital's 32 boroughs, tackling everyday crimes, diversity and communications.

Last night there was already official acknowledgement that his successor will face a tough challenge. Chief executive Chris Harding said: “The next chapter needs to be based on continual improvement in an increasingly difficult financial situation.”

Norfolk Police Authority chairman Stephen Bett said: “Personally and professionally, I am very sorry to see him go - it is a case of London's gain being Norfolk's loss.

“He has worked very hard to set Norfolk constabulary on the right course for policing in the coming years, anticipating exactly what was required and delivering so much more. He will be a difficult act to follow.

“As a result of Ian's vision and the efforts of the team he has built, Norfolk constabulary is successfully re-positioned as a leader in the policing environment where the emphasis is on providing what residents want at a value for money price.

“He leaves Norfolk as the safest county in the country, having put 130 more officers on the beat, reduced response times and embedded neighbourhood policing.”

Mr McPherson's impending departure has been common knowledge within the force for several weeks after he was hotly tipped for the job; it has since emerged that his rival candidates were two deputy chief constables.

But Norfolk Police Federation general secretary David Benfield said the chief's earlier announcement that “it is the right time for me to consider my options for the future” came as a surprise following reassurances to the contrary.

Mr Benfield added: “We can however understand his decision to grasp the opportunity to further his career in one of the largest territorial policing areas in the world.

“The constabulary will now move on and we will continue to provide 100pc commitment and continue to deliver and excellent and professional service.

“There will of course be some uncertainty and I would urge the police authority to show strong leadership by appointing a chief capable of bringing stability while at the same time taking us forward through some very challenging times.”


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