Top cop heads west

POLICE Authority members in Suffolk were today preparing to search for a new Chief Constable.Paul Scott-Lee is to take over as head of the West Midlands force later this year.

By Nick Richards

POLICE Authority members in Suffolk were today preparing to search for a new Chief Constable.

Paul Scott-Lee is to take over as head of the West Midlands force later this yea – and today told of the "difficult decision" he faced over the move.

The news that Mr Scott-Lee was in the running to move to Birmingham was exclusively revealed on the Evening Star's website (www.eveningstar.co.uk) yesterday afternoon.


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He is the second top public servant to abandon Suffolk for Britain's second city this week.

Members of the police authority will have to look outside the county for a new chief.

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Home Office regulations dictate that a chief officer cannot hold more than two of the top three roles in any one force.

Current Deputy Chief Constable Gillian Parker was formerly Assistant Chief Constable and therefore cannot succeed Mr Scott-Lee in the top job.

Mr Scott-Lee, 48, joined Suffolk Constabulary as Deputy Chief Constable in 1994 from Kent Constabulary.

He was appointed Chief Constable of Suffolk on October 2, 1998 and will take up the position of Chief Constable for West Midlands Police later this year.

It will be a homecoming for Mr Scott-Lee – he began his police career at Coventry in the West Midlands.

Today he said: "This has been a very difficult decision and I am excited and looking forward to the challenge of policing the biggest force outside London but I go with mixed feelings.

"The Suffolk Constabulary has achieved a great deal in the time I have been here and there is a real sense of purpose here now."

Chief Constable Scott-Lee talked about the differences between the two forces – Suffolk has the lowest crime rate in England while the West Midlands is a high-crime area.

"The difference is moving from rural to urban where there are different pressures."

When asked how long it would be before his position would be filled, Chief Constable Scott-Lee was unclear of the timescale.

"The police authority have a sub committee who will be meeting in the near future to put the train in progress and look for somebody to fill my position."

Mr Scott Lee becomes the county's second high-profile sector boss to depart for Birmingham this week.

Earlier in the week it was announced that Suffolk County Council chief executive Lin Homer it to take up the top post as Birmingham City Council.

Christine Laverock, chairman of the Suffolk Police Authority, said Mr Scott-Lee's departure would be "a big loss" to the force.

"He took up the challenge of making Suffolk the safest county and has achieved a huge amount in terms of performances and changes," she said.

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