The appointment of Neil Rhodes as chief constable of Lincolnshire Police has been ratified this afternoon (Monday).
The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel agreed with the recommendation put forward by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick for Mr Rhodes to be awarded the promotion after taking on the role previously as temporary chief constable.
This news follows a shaky 10 months for the two men. In February, Mr Hardwick suspended Mr Rhodes after allegations were made of “potential conduct matters”. The allegation was later withdrawn, but not before a judicial review and lengthy investigation by Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, had taken place.
Mr Rhodes agreed that 2013 had been a very difficult year. He said: “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.”
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.”
Looking towards the challenges ahead, Mr Rhodes said the force needs to punch its weight in terms of contribution to national policing issues and tackle “ugly extremism” brought about by an influx of migrant workers to the south of the county.
On financial issues he said that 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.”