Vera Baird

0191 221 9800

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Chief Constable Recruitment Process

Following the retirement of Chief Constable Steve Ashman on 6th November 2017 I implemented a comprehensive recruitment process to find the new Chief Constable for Northumbria.

The process used for the appointment of the new Chief Constable was in accordance with the requirements of the Act and the College of Policing guidance for the Appointment of Chief Officers published in 2012. This process ensured that there was transparency, openness and accountability. To ensure this I included an independent member on the appointments panel and also included stakeholders from local authorities, businesses and community organisations in the appointment process.

Following extensive advertising of the role nationally through various means which included a personal letter and candidate brochure being sent to all current Chief Constables and Deputy Chief Constables, one application for the position was received from Mr Winton Keenen who was the Temporary Chief Constable of Northumbria Police.

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

Formal Online 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.

Application Shortlisting

As only one application for the role was received who met the criteria, this application went forward.

Stakeholder Engagement Process

The role of Chief Constable is an important role, which has a wider impact beyond the direct delivery of policing services. Given the Chief Constable is an important public figure and whose role has impact beyond the direct delivery of police services, the selection process was designed to provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to meet the shortlisted candidate and provide a valuable input to assist in selecting the preferred candidate. The event allowed the panel to interact with the candidate and assess their understanding of the issues and questions posed.  Each group summarised their views and feedback at the end of their session.

Leaders of local authorities, Fire and Rescue and CPS across Northumbria area, community and voluntary sector leads were approached and asked to nominate suitable representation to participate in a stakeholder event. There was an encouraging response in the region of twenty representatives nominated providing a wide and diverse representation.

Two stakeholder groups were formed, representing the public sector, and Community and Voluntary communities.

The stakeholder event took place on Monday 5th March 2018 followed by the panel interview. The groups interviewed the shortlisted candidate for up to 45 minutes, questioning him on police and community safety issues of relevance and importance to them as stakeholders. It was evident throughout the event that the groups had embraced this opportunity and all stakeholders actively participated in the sessions.

Following the stakeholder panel’s feedback and observations on the candidate’s performance this was then provided to the Police and Crime Commissioner for consideration.

Formal Interview and Presentation

Following the Stakeholder engagement process Mr Keenan was invited to attend a formal interview and presentation to the Police and Crime Commissioner and interview panel made up of Dee Collins, Chief Constable West Yorkshire Police, Mr Nick Hall, Regional Chief Executive, Cumbria & Lancs, South Yorkshire and Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company (Independent Member of the panel) and Mr Mike Tait, Director of Finance and ICT for Northumbria Police.  HR advice for the panel was provided by Lesley Anne Knowles, Head of HR for Northumbria Police.

The presentation and interview was structured around a 30 minute presentation and 6 pre-agreed questions. The candidate was given the presentation topic upon arrival and allowed one hour to prepare. A detailed selection exercise was carried out and lasted approximately one and half hours.

Throughout the formal interview each panel member was free to challenge and test the candidate. All panel members kept notes and at the end of the interview the panel drew upon these notes to assist in assessing the performance of the candidate and agreed a score against each question / presentation.

Panel Assessment

The Panel used the following criteria to assess Mr Keenen at each stage of the process:

The selection criterion used to assess the suitability of candidates for the role of Chief Constable is summarised below:

  • Intelligent, creative and informed policing
  • Resolute, compassionate and committed
  • Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership
  • Working relationship with PCC
  • Continued Professional Development (CPD)

The candidate was scored at the end of the formal interview on a scale of 0 (no evidence) through to 4 (very strong) against each of the structured questions and presentation. The interview panel agreed a minimum expected score before the interviews commenced.

Mr Winton Keenen scored highly during this process and it was the consensus of the interview panel that he was the suitable candidate for the position.

He demonstrated through his application form, engagement with key stakeholders and throughout his formal interview that he has the requisite depth of operational experience coupled with the desired leadership qualities, skills and ability to lead Northumbria Police in the future.

Police and Crime Panel Confirmation Hearing

Following the recruitment process as discussed above, the Commissioner proposed the appointment of Mr Winton Keenen as Chief Constable of Northumbria Police to the Police and Crime Panel on 26th March 2018.

At this meeting the Police and Crime Panel formally agreed the appointment of Mr Winton Keenen as Chief Constable of Northumbria Police. You can read a copy of the Police and Crime Panel Appointment report by clicking on the following link Report and recommendations to the Police and Crime Commissioner on Chief Constable appointment