Tough job for Norfolk's new police chief

Ben KendallPolice last night announced the appointment of Norfolk's new chief constable - and he was immediately warned he must slash �15m from force budgets.Ben Kendall

Police last night announced the appointment of Norfolk's new chief constable - and he was immediately warned he must slash �15m from force budgets.

Phil Gormley, currently deputy chief constable with West Midlands police, will take over the �134,000 top job. His former roles include playing a leading part in shaping counter-terrorism strategy for the Metropolitan police and on a national level.

He takes over from former chief Ian McPherson who left Norfolk at the start of the new year to become assistant commissioner (territorial policing) with the Metropolitan police.

But Mr Gormley will not face an easy task - the appointment comes at a time when the force is under pressure to save money and is pursuing a potential merger with Suffolk police.

Norfolk Police Authority chairman Stephen Bett said: "There is little doubt that the future path is going to be a tricky one to navigate. The journey will require visionary thinking, tenacity and a lot of hard work.

"Phil Gormley demonstrated that he has the blend of experience, vision and aptitude that we were looking for to continue the development of Norfolk Constabulary and we look forward to welcoming him as part of the existing highly-credible, high- performing team."

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The other contenders for the job had been Norfolk's current deputy chief constable Ian Learmonth, who is in temporary charge; Janet Williams, a deputy assistant commissioner at the Met; and Adrian Leppard, deputy chief constable at Kent police.

They were eliminated after a two-day interview process involving a community panel to assist the police authority.

Mr Gormley will undergo a medical today. His start date has not yet been confirmed.

Mr Bett said: "A great deal has been achieved for the people of Norfolk over the past three years and we believe that Mr Gormley is the best person to move still further forward.

"He will do this in a climate of expected dramatic central budget cuts and increasing pressure to share services with our neighbouring forces.

"Mr Gormley, however, is fortunate in that he will have a first-class team around him to turn the challenges ahead into opportunities to demonstrate how we can continue to deliver even more 'value for money' policing. In financial terms, that equates to �15m-worth of savings in the past three years while we have put more officers and staff on the front line.

"A further �15m of savings is planned in the next three years.

"I fully expect that, under Mr Gormley's leadership, the constabulary will continue to be recognised nationally for the way it is improving its services, designing them around the people who really matter - our residents."