Police chief could get big payout

Police bosses will not hesitate in handing a substantial relocation package to Norfolk's new chief constable - despite controversy over former chief Ian McPherson's �70,000 pay out.

Police bosses will not hesitate in handing a substantial relocation package to Norfolk's new chief constable - despite controversy over former chief Ian McPherson's �70,000 pay out.

Phil Gormley, currently deputy chief constable at West Midlands police, yesterday underwent a two-hour medical at Norfolk police headquarters after his appointment to the �134,000-a-year top job was confirmed.

He replaced Mr McPherson, who has taken up the post of assistant commissioner (territorial policing) at the Metropolitan police.

Norfolk Police Authority had been forced to answer questions over Mr McPherson's re-location package paid in 2007, after it was revealed taxpayers had stumped up for costs including �31,800 in stamp duty on his �795,000 house. Mr McPherson, who is to continue living in Norfolk, has not been asked to repay this sum.

Authority chairman Stephen Bett said Mr Gormley's expenses would be assessed once his move to Norfolk was completed. But he confirmed that the new chief would be entitled to a similar five-figure sum.

He added: “At the moment he will be renting a place in Norfolk until he can make arrangements to complete a long-term move to the county.

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“We don't know yet what his claim will be but, if it is similar to Ian McPherson's, we will have no hesitation in paying it.

“We believe we have got the right man to take Norfolk police forward and we are prepared to pay a competitive rate to get him.”

Addressing concerns that Mr Gormley, a former Met commander, could follow his predecessors Mr McPherson and Andy Hayman to London after only a brief term in charge at Norfolk, Mr Bett said the authority had drawn up a “strong” contract.

He added: “Ultimately if the Met decide they want our chief constable and if he wants to go, there will be little we can do to stop him.

“But he has signed a three year contract with a strong option to extend that to five. We believe he is committed to Norfolk and we will do our best to hold on to him.”

Meanwhile deputy chief constable Ian Learmonth, who has taken temporary charge of Norfolk police, is due to attend the authority's annual budget consultation at the force's Wymondham headquarters tonight.

The meeting at 7pm will outline some of the planned savings to be made over coming years and the authority's proposed council tax precept.

Norfolk's new police chief Phil Gormley is no stranger to high profile roles.

Most recently the current deputy chief constable at West Midlands police was called in to oversee the investigation into corruption allegations made against Met commander Ali Dizaei. Mr Dizaei is currently standing trial after denying claims he advised a defence team on how to undermine a criminal case brought by his employers.

Mr Gormley also hit the headlines in 2008 as the Association of Chief Police Officers mental health spokesman after the Independent Police Complaints Commission was asked to investigate concerns that too many mentally-ill people were being held in police cells rather than hospitals. He admitted that this widespread practice was “unacceptable”.

But perhaps his most high profile job so far in his 25 year career came in 2003 as he became commander at the Met where he took charge of firearms and aviation security and served on ACPO's terrorism committee.

During this time he was forced to defend the actions of his officers after they shot dead a mentally-ill man seen aimed at replica gun at officers near Heathrow. An inquest later found that he was lawfully killed.

His first police job came in 1985 when he joined Thames Valley police working in uniform and detective roles up to the rank of superintendant.

Mr Gormley has since occupied a number of senior positions, including overseeing the merger of special branch and the anti-terrorist branch of the Met.