December 13 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner has been criticised on the level of co-operation and information he provided over the appointment of the county’s new chief constable.
The criticism was levelled at Stephen Bett by councillors on the police and crime panel, which unanimously agreed earlier this week that he should appoint Simon Bailey as Norfolk’s new top police officer.
But the panel, made up of councillors and independent members, which is meant to be a check and balance to the role of the elected police and crime commissioner, had concerns over a lack of interview notes relating to Mr Bailey.
However, Mr Bett, who quit the Conservatives to run as an independent in the elections for the county’s inaugural police and crime commissioner, insisted he had followed the appointment process to the letter.
The panel said it was very impressed with Mr Bailey and the decision after the confirmation hearing last week was unanimous.
Yet, the panel said there appeared to be a reluctance by the commissioner to fully engage with the panel during the process.
Alec Byrne, chair of the police and crime panel and Dr Christopher Kemp, vice chairman of the police and crime panel and South Norfolk councillor, said: “The panel was impressed with Mr Bailey during last week’s meeting. However, members of the panel believe that a greater level of detail about the selection and interview part of the appointment process would have greatly assisted their review.
“We believe this information would have been useful, not only for our questioning of the commissioner and the candidate, but to enhance public confidence in what is the public-facing element of the appointment process.
“We have therefore written to Mr Bett outlining our concerns in the hope that he will work more closely with the panel on future such appointments.”
Mr Bett said: “I am surprised and disappointed, given that we followed the appointment process and commissioner/panel protocol to the letter.
“Panel members had ample opportunity to question my recommended candidate and the scrutinise the process.
“I am also somewhat surprised given the panel’s unanimous endorsement of Mr Bailey. I do however note the panel’s comments and take them on board.
“I would like to stress that I am fully confident in the process and delighted with the appointment. I know we have the right person for the job.” Mr Bailey has been interim chief constable since June, after the departure of former chief constable Phil Gormley,