Hunt for new Cleveland Police chief draws a blank after no candidates interviewed prove suitable

The search for a new Chief Constable at Cleveland Police has drawn a blank after the first round of interviews for the role.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 5:26 pm

Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner say he is now drawing up plans to look at making “interim arrangements” for the role while the search for a permanent appointment continues.

Mr Turner said: “This is a setback I would prefer we didn’t face, however we will now set about considering alternative options to fill the role of Chief Constable.

“Cleveland is not an easy place to police, and therefore we need an exceptional Chief Constable who has extensive skills and experience to handle the significant challenges the force faces.

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Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner, right, with outgoing Cleveland Police Chief Constable Richard Lewis and Home Secretary Priti Patel.

“We held a rigorous process, with two days of interviews and a total of 26 panel members sitting over three different panels to assess candidates.

“This is not only a major challenge for candidates, but allows me to ensure fairness and diversity of opinion is protected at all stages of the process.”

He added: “At the end of the two-day assessment process the appointment panel unanimously agreed with my decision that none of the candidates were suitable for the position of Chief Constable in Cleveland at this time.”

“On behalf of our three panels, I thank the candidates we interviewed for their participation and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner.

The hunt for a new police chief was launched in August after Chief Constable Richard Lewis gave notice so that he could take up the post as the leader of Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales.

Mr Turner said the recruitment and assessment process was developed in partnership with the College of Policing, the national centre of excellence for police leadership and recruitment – with candidates facing a three-part process, involving over 20 stakeholders from the area.

This involved an internal panel made up of police officers, staff and volunteers, along with representatives from a range of staff networks and associations.

Candidates also faced an external panel consisting of local and regional partners – with the final hurdle being an appointment panel made up of six experienced leaders, chaired by Mr Turner.

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