In May 2024 North Yorkshire will have a newly appointed Mayor, as part of the devolution changes for the county.
One of the key roles for the Mayor is to take on the current Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner role, a role that a Mayor delegates to a Deputy mayor.
Lisa Winward, the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire has announced her intention to retire in March 2024 – giving just a short period until the new Mayor starts.
Yesterday (3 October 2023), the current Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Zoe Metcalfe announced plans to push forward with the recruitment herself, rather than allowing the mayor to recruit for that post themselves. That would afford the opportunity the Mayor to recruit the Chief Constable that best fits his vision for North Yorkshire Police.
In the past the county has had temporary Chief Constables, while recruitment takes place, such as Tim Madgwick in 2012/2013.
But this is an unusual situation, but we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this role to North Yorkshire.
It is also likely that Zoe Metcalfe, and her office who would have been involved in this decision, has scored an own goal, in riling the next Mayor, and if they would consider her for Deputy Mayor, and to continue her current work.
Keith Tordoff MBE, independent candidate for Mayor of North Yorkshire, has said that the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Zoe Metcalfe, is wrong to start the recruitment process – it should be left to the newly appointed Mayor, whoever that is.
Keith Tordoff said:
The decision by Zoe Metcalfe is short-sighted, ill-informed, and not in the best interest of the people of North Yorkshire, or the police force itself.
This is the wrong decision as Lisa Winward retires at the end of March, and a new Mayor is elected just a month later in May.
The Mayor takes over as the Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner, and needs to be part of the process of electing the successor that they will be working closely with.
The Deputy or Assistant Chief Constable are more than able to act as an interim Chief Constable, and that has happened in the past.
It is not clear why the recruitment is being rushed through, and it is important that we attract the best candidates for this role, this approach is unlikely to do that.
PFCC, Zoe Metcalfe said
Following Lisa Winward’s decision to retire on 31 March 2024, I am keen to commence the recruitment process to ensure an appointment is made to take over the reins from Chief Constable Winward. This will ensure that North Yorkshire Police has inspirational, visionary and stable leadership at the helm providing strategic and operational leadership and resilience at a vital time for North Yorkshire Police.
Whilst the decision is mine, I have not reached it without full and frank input from those who are qualified to advise me. In consultation with key national and local stakeholders, I am satisfied that it is in the public interest to launch the recruitment process.
This move is reminiscent of when Julia Mulligan finished as PFCC, who hastily recruited a Chief Executive Officer for the PFCC Office.