After getting his head around the figure that only 4,458 people in Colchester gave him a mandate for the role, appointing a new Chief Constable for the County has to be high up on the list.
Talk about being thrown in at the deep end, etc.
Less than 24 hours since 12.8% of the County came out to vote in the highly confusing elections, Jim Barker-McCardle, the current Chief Constable for Essex, has emailed staff to say that he will not be seeing out the remainder of his contract.
“Personal reasons” have been cited – timing is everything, old boy.
And so what does all of this politicisation of the police and Chief Constable resignation mean for Sunny Colch? Probably not a lot in the immediate months. Recent headlines have suggested that crime is on the increase in Colchester – this isn’t the case.
Morale may be a bit of an issue to address, but policing isn’t the type of job where you can fall asleep on your patch. What is more significant is how the power struggle at the top of the command is played out.
The new Police and Crime Commissioner claims that he isn’t political:
“I have never previously been involved in politics, but I have a lifetime of experience of keeping our nation safe and a passion for Essex where I have lived all my life.”
And so why stand on the Tory ticket then?
It could be that Colchester and Essex becomes one of the key early indicators as to how this newly created role is managed on the national level. Nick Alston now has a key appointment to make. The recruitment process will tell us plenty about the possible politicisation of the police.
And so what do we know about our new Commissioner?
Nick went to school in Clacton, Colchester, Romford and Chelmsford, where he now lives.
Nick’s background is based on public safety:
“My entire career has focused on public safety and security. I was first commissioned as an officer in the Royal Navy and after that served my country for nearly 30 years in operational defence and security work.
After 32 years public service I moved to the private sector where for five years I was a security director for a major global corporation.”
Managing Essex Police is not the same as managing a private sector security company. Accountability and transparency is everything – the appointment of the new Chief Constable is going to be scrutinised carefully.
And so congratulations to Nick Alston, our newly elected Conservative Essex Police and Crime Commissioner. With only 10,002 voters in total coming out to vote across the board in Britain’s Oldest Recorded, another high priority for Nick might be to justify his whopping £85,000 annual salary.
Job’s a good ‘un.