Only one person applies to be region’s most senior police chief

Chief Constable Dee Collins
Chief Constable Dee Collins
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The only person who applied to be West Yorkshire Police’s £176,000-a-year chief constable was the senior officer who had already been doing the job on a temporary basis for two years, it has emerged.

Just one person applied to take on the role as Yorkshire’s most senior police officer following the retirement of former chief constable Mark Gilmore, despite the vacancy being advertised publicly for nearly four weeks.

The job was given to the sole applicant, Dee Collins, who joined West Yorkshire Police in January 2014 and has been acting chief constable since June that year, when Mr Gilmore was suspended amid a criminal investigation in his native Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, MPs said it was ‘deeply concerning’ that so few applicants were going for Chief Constable positions, with many being given to the incumbent deputy chief.

Details of the West Yorkshire appointment process were revealed in a document which will go before members of a scrutiny panel, who will confirm the appointment of Miss Collins on Friday.

The report by Carolyn Dhanraj, an independent member of the College of Policing, said: “By the closing date, one application form had been received for the role of Chief Constable West Yorkshire Police; there had been two additional requests for information throughout the process which did not result in applications.

“I am confident that the Chief Constable role had been advertised to enable the best possible pool of candidates to apply, and due process had been followed.

“It is worth noting, that this role attracted a similar number of candidates that other Chief Constable roles that have been advertised in the previous two years.”

The lack of applicants for chief constable positions was raised earlier by the Home Affairs Select Committee, who said police and crime commissioners “have a duty to ensure that there is a sufficient pool of candidates for chief officer posts”.

The committee said in its report: “It has been suggested that this is happening because potential external applicants are deterred from applying by the perception of an existing close working relationship between the PCC and the Deputy Chief Constable.

“We agree with Sir Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and Lord Wasserman, that steps need to be taken to ensure that the most talented police officers are attracted to, and can secure, the most senior posts: at present, potential candidates are not even applying.”

Three candidates applied for the role of South Yorkshire Police chief constable earlier this year following the suspension of David Crompton, before the position was given to Stephen Watson.

Announcing Miss Collins’s appointment last week, police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said it was “great news for West Yorkshire Police and for our communities”.

He said: “Dee comes to this role with a great deal of experience and understanding having served West Yorkshire first as Deputy and then more recently as Temporary Chief Constable.

“Having worked closely with Dee over the last couple of years I know how passionate she is about this job, about the wellbeing of police officers and staff and about keeping our communities safe and feeling safe.”

Miss Collins said at the time: “I am also committed to building a force that is diverse in representation and thinking. It is important as we move forward that we engage with our communities, that we are part of them and that together we can address concerns.”

Mr Gilmore was suspended from his role as chief constable of West Yorkshire Police in June 2014 amid an investigation into the allegedly corrupt award of police vehicle contracts in his native Northern Ireland.

Although he was told he had no criminal case to answer last April and the suspension was lifted, Mr Gilmore became the subject of a misconduct investigation by Lancashire Police and never returned to his post.

An independent conduct report from Lancashire Police was received by Mr Burns-Williamson on July 26 and Mr Gilmore’s retirement was announced on August 9.

It later emerged that he was able to retire despite facing misconduct allegations at the time, because changes to police procedures stopping this from happening only came into force after the allegations were raised.

The Lancashire Police report has yet to be published. Mr Burns-Williamson said he was “committed to putting as much information into the public domain as possible” but was bound by “legal considerations”.

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