The long-running saga over Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable position came to an end when the acting boss Neil Rhodes was given the job permanently.
The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel ratified his appointment, which had been recommended by police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick.
Mr Rhodes joined Lincolnshire Police as a constable in 1986 and left in 2001 on promotion to Humberside before moving to Cumbria as Assistant Chief Constable and returned to the force in 2008 as Deputy Chief Constable.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Chief,” he said.
“After five years away in Humberside and Cumbria, being appointed Deputy Chief Constable here in Lincolnshire in 2008 was like coming home for me. The Chief’s job really is the icing on the cake and I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my career making Lincolnshire Police and the service we deliver the very best I possibly can.”
Mr Rhodes said 2013 had been a very difficult year after his temporary suspension as Acting Chief Constable.
“But that’s very much behind me now and when I picked up the reins of the Chief’s job again back in April I was determined to build a strong and productive working relationship with the Commissioner and his staff. I think we’ve achieved that and the force goes from strength to strength now. The officers and staff are really delivering for us with continuing reductions in crime – whilst other areas of the country struggle; and there is an improving picture in terms of detecting and resolving crime. I take my hat off to everyone when you consider all this is being done with 10 per cent fewer officers than we had two years ago.”
The Chief Constable said that they were policing an increasingly diverse community. “In terms of demographics, we have an increasingly ageing population in many parts coupled with an influx of migrant workers in the south.
“Those workers have brought a welcome injection of energy and talent into the agricultural and manufacturing industries.” He acknowledged that Lincolnshire had also seen what he called ‘ugly extremism’ in the shape of demonstrators travelling from other parts of the country to Lincolnshire. “I am sure that challenge will continue in the months ahead – and we will deal with it robustly,” he said.
On financial issues he said the force had balanced its books for the next two years. “I’m confident that we can sustain 1,100 officers and 149 PCSOs – and we’ve done that in probably the toughest circumstances in the country,” he said.
“Working closely with the Commissioner we now need to make sure we get a fair deal for Lincolnshire from the Government in the years ahead. When you compare us to almost all other forces we beat them hands down in terms of quality of service delivered at very low cost. We want to share those lessons and ensure we retain a sensible level of funding that means we can sustain and improve policing here.”