Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), is the first PCC to award a five-year extension to a Chief Constable’s contract when the Chief Constable has already been in post for the past eight years.
Willy Bach wanted to secure the services of the man he describes as an ‘Inspirational Chief Constable’, Simon Cole QPM, for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The move will ensure continuity of leadership in what is acknowledged as a challenging period for policing.
The Commissioner will inform members of the Police and Crime Panel, at a meeting on Friday 8 June, of his decision which will see Mr Cole assured of five consecutive annual contract renewals. It is believed this is the first time the Regulations have been used in this way.
Simon Cole was appointed Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police in 2010 on a five-year contract. In 2015 he was offered a three-year contract extension by the then Police and Crime Commissioner, which comes to an end in June 2018.
The Regulations state that after the three-year extension a Commissioner can only offer extensions to contract to a Chief Constable on a yearly basis. However, there is nothing in legislation preventing any specific number of consecutive one-year contracts to be offered – and accepted.
Keen to retain Leicestershire’s highly respected Chief Constable Willy Bach therefore decided to offer Mr Cole five consecutive 12-month extensions to his contract.
Policing Minister RT Hon Nick Hurd MP confirmed that this was perfectly permissible when he wrote to the Commissioner to say: “….. the Government believes in importance of local accountability in policing and locally-driven priorities. The appointment or extensions of an appointment for the Chief Constable is properly your decision”.
Willy Bach said: “This is good news for the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. It removes uncertainty, brings continuity of leadership in times of challenge and change, and enables future planning to be undertaken with confidence.
“Simon Cole has proved himself an exceptional leader and it is absurd that I cannot offer someone who has proven himself time and again, a five-year contract. However, we have checked and there is nothing to prevent me from offering five one-year contracts.
“Simon is, quite frankly, an inspirational Chief Constable, respected throughout the force, my own office, our many partners and indeed across the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“Not only has he steered Leicestershire Police safely through some choppy waters in order to meet the harsh savings targets resulting from austerity measures, but he has overseen a significant and effective change programme modernising the way in which the force delivers police services. He is also a strong champion of diversity and is determined that the police should be representative of the many communities it serves.”
Simon Cole added: ‘I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue to lead the force into the future. I am very proud of the officers, staff and volunteers with whom I am lucky to serve. Their commitment, innovation and sheer hard work make a positive difference in local communities every day.
“Policing is always changing to meet new challenges and looking ahead that includes the omnipresence of cybercrime, the reduction in police budgets at a time of a growing population, and the need to continue to deal with those who cause the most harm, whether through acquisitive crime, domestic abuse, or online offences.
“I look forward to working with partners to ensure that we continue to protect the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”