Shropshire Star

New West Mercia chief constable: What happens now after planned Met Police replacement is cancelled?

It is likely to be next year before the police force covering Shropshire has a permanent chief constable in place, it has been revealed.

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Last week it was confirmed that Kyle Gordon, the choice to take over as West Mercia Police's chief constable, was no longer taking up the role.

In a statement West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said the move was 'agreed' a result of a "change in circumstances which could not have been foreseen at the time".

Mr Gordon had been confirmed as West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion's choice for the position back in December 2023.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion needs to start the recruitment process for a chief constable again.

There has been no permanent chief constable for the force since September 2023, when Pippa Mills left to take up a position with the Metropolitan Police.

The role has since been taken on an acting basis by Alex Murray, who had been deputy to Ms Mills.

He is expected to continue in the position while Mr Campion restarts the process to find a permanent replacement.

It is understood that the actual recruitment process will not begin until later this year.

It means that it is likely to be 2025 before the force has a permanent chief constable in place – at least 16 months since it last had a permanent chief officer.

It is the latest difficulty in securing a permanent chief constable for the force.

The job was initially advertised in September last year, but Mr Campion decided not to appoint a candidate from the first process.

The role was then re-advertised in November with two applications received – understood to be one from Mr Gordon and another from Mr Murray.

Speaking last week when he confirmed the latest developments Mr Campion said: "I will continue to ensure West Mercia Police is focused on tackling crime and keeping our communities safe. I will provide further updates regarding the Chief Constable role in due course.”

The chair of West Mercia Police Federation Steve Butler said there was disappointment at the latest developments, but reassurance and confidence over the performance of the acting Chief Constable.

He said: "The Police Federation was disappointed to hear that Kyle will no longer be taking up the post, as he came highly recommended by colleagues that have previously worked with him and said to be very supportive of both officers and the Federation.

“I’d like to reassure our members that his decision has very little impact on officers, as we have an acting Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable Alex Murray, who has been doing a really good job. He offers the stability and continuity that our force needs.

“Of course, we would welcome some permanency in the Chief Constable role, but at this time, we appreciate finding a replacement may take some time.”