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Police pledge to 'spare no expense' in hunt for new chief

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 06 July 2010

Ben Kendall

Bosses at Norfolk police last night said they would spare no expense in appointing a new top officer - despite controversy over the financial package paid to outgoing chief constable Ian McPherson.

Bosses at Norfolk police last night said they would spare no expense in appointing a new top officer - despite controversy over the financial package paid to outgoing chief constable Ian McPherson.

Mr McPherson arrived in Norfolk on the back of a £70,000 relocation deal, which included taxpayers stumping up for his stamp duty. Norfolk was among forces criticised for ignoring pay scales and offering perks to top officers.

When the relocation deal was revealed, police authority chairman Stephen Bett said it was necessary to pay over the odds to stop high calibre officers being “poached by other larger forces”.

But despite news of the chief constable's departure to the Metropolitan police less than three years after moving to the county, Mr Bett remained adamant that an open cheque-book recruitment policy was the only way to secure the future of policing in Norfolk.

Meanwhile Mr Bett admitted that initiatives which have in recent years put more bobbies on the beat could be unsustainable in the face of swingeing cuts in public spending, but he said appointing the right man was vital.

“It will be difficult to find somebody of the calibre of Ian McPherson, but we're going to try,” he said.

“We need somebody who is capable of carrying on the work he has done to modernise the force. We are facing tough times and will almost certainly have to do more for less in the years to come.

“In recent years we have put additional police officers on the frontline and that might not be sustainable within our current structure; the force is just not big enough to maintain that pace.

“The only way we can continue to move forward and give the public what they want is to work more closely with other police forces and whoever comes in will have to embrace that challenge.”

Mr McPherson is expected to take up his new job as Assistant Commissioner (Territorial Policing) by Christmas. He will lead policing in the capital's 32 boroughs, focusing on every day crimes.

The amount paid by Norfolk to recruit Mr McPherson to his £126,000 a year post has come under criticism in recent months, not least from the rank and file. There have also questions over his benefits, including a top of the range car.

When asked to comment on Norfolk's recruitment policy, Kit Malthouse, from the Metropolitan Police Authority, said that if other authorities were going to skew the market with secret pay deals, the Met would outbid them to get the right man.

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