Devon and Cornwall PCC reveals new chief constable choice

By Philip Churm - Local Democracy Reporter

2nd Sep 2022 | Local News

Will Kerr, preferred candidate for chief constable (Devon and Cornwall PCC)
Will Kerr, preferred candidate for chief constable (Devon and Cornwall PCC)

The preferred candidate to become chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police has been named as Will Kerr OBE, a deputy chief constable in Scotland. 

In selecting DCC Kerr, Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez described him as "an exceptional strategic leader" and said his "passion for the job and the high standards he holds himself and others to shone through" in the recruitment process. 

The post of chief constable became vacant following the retirement of Shaun Sawyer last month. 

Mr Sawyer had been in the role for more than a decade. 

DCC Kerr spent over 27 years in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and joined the National Crime Agency (NCA) on secondment in 2017. He was awarded an OBE in 2015 and joined Police Scotland in 2018.

As the NCA's director of vulnerabilities, he was national lead for co-ordinating the UK's domestic and international response to child sexual abuse and exploitation, modern slavery, human trafficking and organised immigration crime.

But there has been controversy in Scotland over the closure of 140 police stations and office since 2013, although most occurred before DCC Kerr was appointed. 

Alison Hernandez, Devon & Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner (LDR, Philip Churm)

Commissioner Hernandez said: "In Will we were presented with someone who was not only an exceptional strategic leader, but someone who was able to clearly articulate how he would use this leadership to develop a police force that worked hand-in-glove with our residents and partners to tackle crime and protect the most vulnerable in society."

The recruitment process was supported by the College of Policing, and candidates were questioned by various stakeholders with a final interview panel made up of senior leaders from across Devon and Cornwall.

The commissioner's decision will now be scrutinised at a hearing of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel held in Plymouth on Friday 16 September.


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