Shropshire Star

Search for new West Mercia Police chief takes another twist as another temporary leader leaves

Another temporary chief constable has left the police force covering Shropshire, it has been announced.

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West Mercia Police has not had a permanent chief constable since September 2023, when Pippa Mills left to take up a position with the Metropolitan Police.

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

But he announced that he was not taking up the role and was replaced on an acting basis by Alex Murray, who had been deputy to Ms Mills.

Both Mr Gordon and Mr Murray are understood to have put their police caps into the ring for the job.

Now temporary chief constable (T/CC) Alex Murray has announced that he is leaving too.

He will be leaving the force at the end of August to take up the role of director of threat leadership at the National Crime Agency.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has now chosen temporary deputy chief constable (T/DCC) Richard Cooper to replace Mr Murray and sit in the West Mercia Police hot seat on an interim basis from August 29.

Mr Murray said: “It has been an honour to lead West Mercia.

"I have been proud to work with the hard-working police officers and staff, and our partners, to make a real difference for communities; bringing crime down and more offenders to justice.”

Mr Cooper said he is fully committed to ensuring that the force delivers and 'excellent service'.

He said: “I am incredibly proud to represent the officers, staff and volunteers at West Mercia Police and whilst in this role I am fully committed to ensuring we keep delivering an excellent service for the communities that we serve.”

Mr Campion, who was re-elected to the role in May, said: “I would like to thank Alex Murray for his service to West Mercia Police, and for his leadership during his time here.

"I am pleased to confirm Richard Cooper in post as the temporary chief constable, as I am confident that he will build on the work Alex has done to address the organisational challenges, reduce crime and deliver on the public’s priorities. I am certain he will provide continuity and stability through this interim period.”

Mr Campion added that he will begin the process of identifying a permanent chief constable later this year.

It means that it is likely to be 2025 before the force has a permanent chief in place.