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Police chief could be leaving Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:20 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 03 July 2010

Police chief Ian McPherson last night confirmed he was considering leaving Norfolk - less than three years after launching a radical overhaul of the force.

Police chief Ian McPherson last night confirmed he was considering leaving Norfolk - less than three years after launching a radical overhaul of the force.

Mr McPherson, who took up the post of chief constable in January 2007, has applied and been shortlisted for the role of Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing with the London force.

He is one of three being considered by the Metropolitan Police and there is strong speculation he is the favourite for the vacancy.

In a statement Mr McPherson said he remained passionate about his role with Norfolk police but added: “It is the right time for me to consider my options for the future.”

If his application is successful, Mr McPherson's departure would lead to a shake-up of Norfolk's top brass at a time when the force is still adapting to a radical new policing structure.

Police authority chairman Stephen Bett said: "It would be precipitate to comment at this time. The course has been set and we have total confidence that the Norfolk constabulary as a whole can deliver what the public want - whoever is in charge."

Meanwhile David Benfield, general secretary of the Norfolk Police Federation which represents the rank and file, said officers on the ground would be determined to continue serving the public despite the uncertainty.

Mr Benfield added: “If he does go we have sufficient senior management resilience to continue serving the local community.”

Since taking charge in Norfolk, Mr McPherson has overseen a number of controversial changes including overhauling officer shifts patterns, scrapping locally based command structure and reducing the number of 999 response stations from 35 to six.

In recent weeks the force has announced consultations over a number of staff redundancies, most notably after the EDP revealed police station front desk opening times were to be slashed.

Speaking yesterday, Mr McPherson said: “Applying for the role is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.

“I am immensely proud of the achievements of Norfolk constabulary over almost three years. However, with an able senior management team in place, together with the support of Norfolk Police Authority, it is the right time for me to consider my options for the future.

“The Norfolk policing model is producing tremendous results for our residents - being the safest county in the country is an enviable position in which to be.

“The model's key principles of localised policing within a single geographical territory, supported by centralised 'back office' functions and managed in a customer/supplier type relationship, are being closely followed by other forces and national policymakers.

“Whatever the outcome of the interview process, I will continue to support passionately our staff for the way they are embedding the Model, which I believe has the potential to radically change policing and the way people think about policing today.”

Mr McPherson would not be the first chief constable to move to the Metropolitan police after a spell in charge of Norfolk.

Andy Hayman left the force in 2005 after three years in charge to become the Met's head of counter-terrorism. He quit two years later after a string of controversies.


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