Vera Baird

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Chief Constable Recruitment Process

Following the announcement on the 8th April 2015 that the former Chief Constable Mrs Sue Sim, QPM declared her intention to retire after 30 years police service i implemented a process to find the new Chief Constable for Northumbria.

The process used for the appointment of the new Chief Constable ensures that there is transparency, openness and accountability.  To ensure this I included an independent member on the appointments panel.  I also included stakeholders from local authorities, businesses and community organisations in the process.

An extensive appointment process was undertaken to test candidate’s ability with each stage of the process explained below:

Formal Application

Potential candidates had to complete a formal application form as for any job, which included past experience and specific questions relating to the role and the challenges faced by Northumbria Police.

Applications Shortlisting

Once the closing date for the position had passed, shortlisting of submitted applications was undertaken by the appointments panel that consisted of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Vera Baird QC, Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Jacqui Cheer, Chief Executive of the Community Rehabilitation Company Nick Hall and Assistant Chief Officer of Northumbria Police Bernie McCardle.

Each panel member scrutinised all application forms and scored each candidates response to the stated questions using a scoring matrix.  Three candidates were successful in progressing to the stakeholder engagement stage of the process.

Stakeholder Engagement Process

The role of Chief Constable is an important role, which has a wider impact beyond the direct delivery of policing services. I felt that it was important that local authority leaders and key stakeholders from the business, health, community and voluntary sectors were given the opportunity to meet shortlisted candidates and provide a valuable input to assist in the deliberations on the appointment of a candidate.  Following these stakeholders sessions they fed back their thoughts to me in person.

Examples of the organisations represented included:

  • Local Authorities
  • Health Organisations
  • Newcastle/Sunderland Football Club Foundations
  • Voluntary and Community Organisations including MIND, Newcastle CVS, Equality North East, Newcastle Disability Forum, The Angelou Centre and Age UK Sunderland.
  • Representatives from Faith/BME organisations

Formal Interview

Candidates successful at the shortlisting stage of the appointment process were invited to attend a formal interview by a panel which consisted of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Vera Baird QC, Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Jacqui Cheer, Chief Executive of the Community Rehabilitation Company Nick Hall (Independent Member) and Assistant Chief Officer of Northumbria Police Bernie McCardle.  Nick Hall has provided a letter to the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel that confirmed the process complied with the principles of merit, fairness and openness.

Letter From Nick Hall (Independent Member of Chief Constable Interview Panel)

Police and Crime Panel Confirmation Hearing

Following the recruitment process as discussed above, the Commissioner proposed the appointment of Mr Steve Ashman as Chief Constable of Northumbria Police.

At a meeting on 1st June 2015 the Police and Crime Panel met Mr Ashman and confirmed the appointment with the letter from the Councillor Peter Mole, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel confirming the appointment. A copy of this letter can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Police and Crime Panel Confirmation Hearing for the Appointment of the Chief Constable