How many applied to become the £154,000 a year chief constable of Cambridgeshire? 20? 10? No, just the one.....

Alec Wood is in line to become Cambridgeshire Constabulary's new chief constable. New report shows h

Alec Wood is in line to become Cambridgeshire Constabulary's new chief constable. New report shows he was the only applicant. - Credit: Archant

The only candidate – deputy chief constable Alec Wood- to apply to become Cambridgeshire’s chief constable is expected to be confirmed next week.

Police and crime committee agendas reveal that despite extensive publicity, only two asked for a job description and application form for the £154,000 a year role but only Mr Wood returned his.

Former Cambridgeshire county council leader Nick Clarke said he remained mystified that only one person applied to become the next chief constable of the county’s police force.

Mr Wood is police commissioner Sir Graham Bright’s choice but the appointment will, firstly, be open to a public ‘confirmation hearing’ next Wednesday. It will be followed by a closed meeting of the crime panel that is expected to ratify the appointment.

The police and crime panel has the power of veto over the appointment of a chief constable – but only on the first occasion. If Mr Wood were to be rejected, the panel could not veto a second choice put forward by the commissioner.

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Mr Clarke, now a regional spokesman for UKIP, said: “I have some concerns about the appointment of the new chief constable.”

He said: “Cambridgeshire is a vibrant, exciting county with much to offer. So what has gone wrong with the process that only one person applied?”

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Mr Clarke, who is thought to be considering standing next year in the police commissioner elections, said: “Are we really to believe that the current deputy chief constable (now acting chief constable) was the only person with any interest in the role? Did any telephone call take place with prospective applicants and if so how many and why did they not proceed?

“Did any others make contact in any way and if so why did they not proceed?

“It seems that the range of salary that was offered was £135,774 to £149,350 per annum. Yet the appointment has been made at £154,037.94 broken down as £150,846.30 salary and £3191.64 rent allowance.”

Mr Clarke added the current national guidelines have suggested a salary of around £136,000.

“It looks as if the police commissioner has been overly generous with our money. Why?” said Mr Clarke.

However Carolyn Dhanraj, who was on the panel that recommended Mr Wood, says in a 60 page statement that she believes the process was fair and transparent. Mr Wood had scored highly in interview and the recommendation of his appointment was unanimous.

Meanwhile Sir Graham says he is still considering whether he wants to stand for a second term as police commissioner.

He said: “I haven’t made a decision. I’m thinking about it. Because you know it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of hard work and I should have retired before now. But it is such a challenge. I love it. So I’m thinking about it now.”

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