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Police and Crime Panel confirm Merseyside Police’s next Chief Constable

Merseyside / March 17

The Merseyside Police and Crime Panel has today confirmed the Commissioner’s preferred candidate will be appointed as the next Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

Jane Kennedy announced on March 8th that the current Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM was her preferred choice to take over the top role at the Force.

That recommendation was today taken to the Police and Crime Panel, who conducted a public confirmation hearing attended by DCC Cooke. The hearing gave Panel members the opportunity to review the recruitment and selection process, assess the supporting documents, including a report from an independent adviser from the College of Policing, and also to interview DCC Cooke.

The Panel, which is made up of elected and independent members from across Merseyside, had the power to either ratify or veto the Commissioner’s proposed candidate. Members unanimously confirmed that DCC Cooke was the right person to take over the job when Sir Jon Murphy retires in June.

Commenting on the Panel’s endorsement Jane said: “I am very pleased that the Panel has unanimously approved my decision to appoint Andy Cooke to be the next Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

“Andy has held every rank in Merseyside Police from constable to Deputy Chief Constable, dedicating more than 25 years of his life to serving the people of Merseyside, and I am pleased it has now been confirmed he will take over the leadership of the Force when Sir Jon retires in June.

“Throughout his time as Deputy and through the recruitment process Andy has demonstrated his professional competence and ethical approach to the role and the Force. Andy has exceptional experience of policing, is very well respected in the policing community and already holds a number of significant national roles and the Queen’s Policing Medal. He clearly has the leadership quality to take Merseyside Police forward to continue to deliver the high quality of policing that people here on Merseyside expect and deserve.

“I am sure I speak for the public when I say that it is also pleasing to know that, following in the footsteps of Sir Jon Murphy, we will have a Chief Constable who is Liverpool born and bred, someone who is passionate about Merseyside and committed to providing the best possible service to everyone who lives, works and visits the region.

“I look forward to working with Andy to deliver my police and crime priorities for the region.”

Panel Chair Christine O’Hare said: “The Panel was unanimous in its satisfaction that the candidate, Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, met the standards required to fulfil of the responsibility of the post and that, consequently, his appointment should be supported. The Panel was particularly impressed with Mr Cooke’s openness and approachability and felt comfortable that he had the attributes to be a successful Chief Constable.

“In addition, the Panel wished to place on record its satisfaction with the openness and transparency of the recruitment process carried out for this position.”

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy has welcomed the appointment of Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke. Sir Jon, who announced at the beginning of the year that he would retire in June, today said: “I am delighted to confirm that my current Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, is to be the next Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

“It was with a heavy heart I announced my retirement back in January, but today I can confirm to the people of Merseyside that I am leaving the force in Andy’s capable hands.

“Andy started with the force back in 1985 and he has served as a Detective at every rank during his career, proving time and time again his commitment to serving the people of Merseyside and to Merseyside Police.

“During his career Andy has worked on numerous high profile investigations including murder, counter terrorism and covert corruption enquiries.   He was instrumental in the development of and the first Commander of the nationally recognised Matrix team, which was set up to tackle gun and gang crime back in 2005. He was also responsible for Operation Seahog, which tackled serious and organised crime within the security industry on Merseyside in the run up to Capital of Culture in 2008, the success of this operation was recognised at a national level and was taken up by the Metropolitan Police prior to the Olympics in 2012.

“In 2008 Andy left Merseyside Police for a short period of time having been promoted to Assistant Chief Constable at Lancashire Constabulary with the responsibility for Specialist Operations. Whilst there he developed strategies to improve the safety of communities in Lancashire, developed the County’s ANPR capability and commanded a number of high profile public order demonstrations.  He later took on the role for Territorial Operations, Criminal Justice and Contact Management, achieving considerable reductions in crime and increased detections against a backdrop of significant cuts and resources.”

Sir Jon added: “Andy, who like myself is passionate about the city where he was born and raised, returned to Merseyside Police in 2012 as ACC with responsibility for Operational Policing, he was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in 2013.

“Since then Andy has worked hard with me to ensure that we maintain a professional and efficient service whilst the force was undergoing high levels of change as a result of cuts we were required to make.

“It has not been an easy time, but Andy completely understands the pressures faced by the force. His resilience, tenacity and determination to provide the communities of Merseyside with a professional force which can deliver, is as resolute today as it ever was.

Following his appointment Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke, 52 years, who is married with twin daughters, said:

"I am exceptionally proud to have been appointed the Chief Constable for the area where I live, and I am looking forward to leading the outstanding officers and staff of Merseyside Police during what is a significant period of change and challenge.  I am committed to keeping the people of Merseyside safe and ensuring that all communities have a force that they trust and have confidence in.

“I joined the force in 1985 to serve the public of Merseyside, and I will ensure that we will always put our communities and victims first. We have a duty of care to the communities we serve and I want them to be reassured that the service we will provide is the best it possibly can be.

“Over the last 30 years I have seen the police service develop beyond recognition with a greater empathy and understanding of the different communities we serve, advancement of technology, and changes in crime. Merseyside Police needs to continue evolve to meet these changes and I will ensure that Merseyside has a responsive, modern force that it can be proud of.

“I’m taking over a force that has already been recognised for the service it provides to its communities and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the work of the current Chief Constable, Sir Jon Murphy. The last six years have certainly been challenging and Sir Jon has been in the unenviable position of ensuring that the force is able to deliver against a back drop of drastic cuts. The HMIC Peel Report released just last month showed that the force has been able to maintain the service it provides to our communities, despite the loss of more than 1500 officers and staff, that would not have been possible without Sir Jon’s experience and leadership.

“Sir Jon is well respected by his officers and staff, and peers and officers in police forces across the country, and I will work hard to ensure that I build on the foundations of the work he has already done to move the force forward in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him well for the future and to thank him for his dedicated service to the people of Merseyside over the last 40 years.”

A full report outlining the Panel's decision will be published on the Police and Crime Panel's website at www.knowsley.gov.uk