Jo Coles - York and North Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing, Fire and Crime

Jo Coles - North Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing, Fire and Crime

DN 09/2023 – Chief Constable Vacancy

The Commissioner has decided to commence recruitment to the role of Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police.

DN 09/2023
3 October 2023 


Legal and Regulatory

  1. The PFCC is responsible for appointing to the role of Chief Constable in accordance with s38 and Schedule 8 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (‘the 2011 Act’) and the Police Regulations made under s50 Police Act 1996.
  2. Home Office Circular 013/2018 outlines those legal requirements and the principles for appointment of chief police officers.
  3. It follows that the decision as to when and by what method to advertise, select and appoint to the role of Chief Constable, is a matter for the PFCC.
  4. The Police, Fire and Crime Panel (‘PF&C Panel’) has responsibility for the confirmation process, in the event that the PFCC notifies the PF&C Panel of a proposed appointee to the role. The rules in respect of confirmation are set out in Schedule 8 of the 2011 Act and in further detail in the Police and Crime Panels (Precepts and Chief Constable Appointments) Regulations 2012
  5. Guidance on best practice for advertising, shortlisting, selecting and appointing Chief Constables is issued by the College of Policing.


  1. Chief Constable Winward will retire on 31 March 2024.
  2. A vacancy in the office of Chief Constable will therefore exist with effect from 1 April 2024.
  3. Chief Constable Winward has given notice to retire, substantially in advance of the commencement of the three-month period of notice required of her. It is understood that she decided to do so as soon as she had made the personal decision to retire and that she considered it to be in the public interest to make her wish and intention known as soon as her mind was made up.
  4. On 22 September 2023 the PFCC and Chief Constable Winward issued a joint public statement informing colleagues and the public of the Chief Constable’s decision and acknowledging in positive terms, her public service career accomplishments.
  5. As is normal, some accrued leave entitlements will mean that Chief Constable Winward will inevitably be absent for part of her remaining time in office.
  6. For any period during which the Chief Constable is absent before 31 March 2024, the law makes provision for the Deputy Chief Constable to assume the role of Chief Constable on an acting basis. During any such period there would be consequential backfill arrangements necessary at Chief Officer Team level.
  7. The PFCC sought immediate advice from the Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer about the options available to her to ensure the fulfilment of her duty to ensure that the force has efficient and effective leadership, and the legal and constitutional issues that she should consider.
  8. Following advice and consideration, whilst acknowledging the need for next steps to be determined without undue delay, the PFCC decided that before reaching a decision she would seek comprehensive advice from her statutory and non-statutory senior team; and take appropriate soundings from key national stakeholder organisations with a remit in respect of police leadership.
  9. These steps have been taken thoroughly and rapidly.
  10. The Commissioner has consulted with
    1. His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary & Fire and Rescue Services (including the Chief Inspector of Constabulary)
    2. The College of Policing (including the Chief Executive of the College)
    3. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
  11. The Force’s organisational and operational status is a vital key consideration for the Commissioner. As the accompanying report explains, this is not just the Commissioner’s individual view – it is reflected in the advisory and stakeholder feedback to the Commissioner about the question of whether to commence a recruitment to the role of Chief Constable straight away. All of the advice provided to the Commissioner has stressed the need for North Yorkshire Police to continue its improvement programme. The Force has in the recent past fallen short, in some significant areas, of the standards of excellence to which it aspires and which the public have a right to expect. The findings of successive HMICFRS inspections reflect the level of concern about the Force’s recent financial and operational performance.
  12. The Commissioner has intensified assurance and scrutiny work since being elected in 2021 and has done so with transparency and immediacy – holding the Chief Constable and the Force overall to account in public for assurance that the necessary improvements are being made.
  13. The Commissioner is assured that North Yorkshire Police performance is turning a corner and that signs of that progress are also recognised by the local and national soundings she has taken. National bodies consulted all considered that the improvements in Force organisational and operational performance can best be sustained under stable and visionary leadership.
  14. The stability of the Force is a key element of the public interest balance that the Commissioner has to strike. An exemplary North Yorkshire Police requires exemplary and stable leadership.
  15. Recruitment processes for strategic police leaders take time and professional care, if they are to command the confidence of all involved and lead to the right outcome for North Yorkshire’s policing. The Commissioner is not satisfied that allowing an inevitable delay of many months, possibly extending until the Autumn of 2024, is the right decision for keeping York and North Yorkshire safe and feeling safe.
  16. All of the national police stakeholder bodies have independently advised the Commissioner to
    1. commence recruitment to the role of Chief Constable, as soon as practicable; and
    2. to offer a substantive fixed term appointment to a preferred candidate, who (subject, of course, to confirmation by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel at their discretion) would then if practicable take up the role promptly after it falls vacant.
  17. The Commissioner considers that step to be in the interests of the public of York and North Yorkshire and therefore intends to commence the recruitment process.
  18. The Commissioner has directed that the process be undertaken in a way which meets (and where possible exceeds) the best practice standards set out in the College of Policing Guidance, including extensive stakeholder involvement by partner organisations, specialist recruitment consultancy by the College of Policing and the involvement of independent advice, guidance and quality assurance throughout.
  19. With all of the above matters in mind, the Commissioner will launch the recruitment process as soon as practicable and invites every senior police leader who considers that they can offer the visionary, collaborative drive to deliver exemplary policing for York and North Yorkshire, to consider submitting their candidacy for the role.

Decision Record

The Commissioner has considered

  • the factual background
  • the legal powers and duties available to the PFCC
  • each of the options for addressing the forthcoming vacancy
  • the professional advice of the statutory officers
  • the professional advice of the local/national stakeholders consulted by the Commissioner
  • the internal stakeholder input offered to the Commissioner
  • the recommendation set out in the report of the Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer

and has determined that an appointment process will commence for the role of Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, as soon as practicable.

Zoë Metcalfe
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire


Statutory Officer Advice

Legal, Management and Equality Implications

The Commissioner’s Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer has provided a full report and recommendation – appended to this Decision Notice – and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, is satisfied that this report does not ask the Commissioner to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

Simon Dennis
Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer

Financial and Commercial

The Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer and S151 Officer has advised that there are no additional direct financial implications, resulting from the decision that the Commissioner is proposing to make, over and above those that are contained within the current financial plans.

Michael Porter
Chief Finance Officer


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