Legal complications force Lincolnshire to restart search for new chief constable

The search for the next chief constable of Lincolnshire Police will be restarted due ‘procedural complications’ that emerged ahead of a meeting of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel later this month.

Oct 5, 2020
By Tony Thompson
Marc Jones

Last month Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner Marc Jones named Derbyshire Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson as the preferred candidate to succeed Chief Constable Bill Skelly, who steps down in December after three years in charge of policing in Lincolnshire.

However, a statement released by his office said: “After taking legal advice it became clear that it would be complicated, costly and potentially lengthy to address issues relating to the probable disclosure of candidates’ information to the Police and Crime Panel.

“Police and crime commissioner Marc Jones felt that this would be inappropriate for a public meeting and is determined to protect the integrity of the process and the identity of people who had applied for the role in good faith.”

Mr Jones said: “This delay is exceedingly frustrating, but these processes are complex and the guidance extensive. It is vital that we follow legislation, which we have done, but also that we can be transparent, without naming candidates publicly on how and why decisions were arrived at.

“I could not put members of the Police and Crime Panel in the intolerable position of having to place information in the public domain that is specific to applicants in the process.

“It is not unheard of to encounter blips in such challenging processes and I want to make clear that this in no way reflects upon the candidates who took part. They are all very welcome to enter the fresh process.

“However, I could not stand by and permit the possibility of personal information entering the public domain and then being discussed in open forum. Allowing such a discussion would have been totally wrong, not something panel members would have been comfortable with I’m sure, and not something my personal integrity would permit.

“As a result, and after much deliberation, I have concluded that protecting the identity and integrity of individuals who put themselves through this intensive process overrode the need to complete the recruitment process at this point.

“I prudently built in sufficient time to ensure any unforeseen delay would not lead to a gap of leadership for the force and remain confident that the whole process can be completed within envisaged timescales.

“Consequently, I have decided to restart the process and put robust measures in place to ensure I am not presented with the same issue next time.”

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