With his current Chief Finance Officer set to retire at the end of January, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett met with the Police and Crime Panel this week to appoint a successor.
Following Monday’s confirmatory hearing, Stephen received a recommendation from the Panel’s Chairman that he proceed with the appointment of John Hummersone, currently Chief Finance Officer for Cambridgeshire’s PCC.
“By law, all PCCs must have a Chief Finance Officer to manage the finances of the PCC’s office and, more widely, the police force”, Stephen said.
“Bob Summers has played a huge role in guiding the Constabulary through the financial minefield of the last few years. With more Government funding cuts to come, maintaining financial stability and protecting our frontline policing services will become an even greater challenge.
“We need a Chief Finance Officer who can hit the ground running. I believe that his background, qualifications and knowledge of police finances make John the right person for the role. I am delighted that, after robust scrutiny, the Panel members agree.”
Responding to recent criticism that he is building an “empire” of staff, Stephen said: “The role and remit of the PCC is much wider than that of the former police authority, which had 17 members and a staff of 12. Other than the appointment of a new Chief Constable to lead our force, my most recent recruitment has been for my Chief Executive and, now, Chief Finance Officer – neither of which were new posts and both are required by law.
“In my first year, I have removed a post on redundancy of the former Deputy Chief Executive, and I have appointed two new permanent staff – one for overall communications, and the other to co-ordinate the way we respond to domestic abuse in Norfolk.
“I said that, in those first 12 months, I would operate within the budget I inherited from the former police authority, and I have done so. But I don’t anticipate being able to do that for the full term. As my areas of responsibility continue to grow, in line with the laws upon which the PCC role is based, my staffing needs will change.
“For example, from next year, as well as overseeing the performance and finances of the police, bringing partners together to tackle key issues such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, re-offending and support for people with mental health issues, I will also inherit the duty to commission services for supporting Norfolk’s victims of crime.
“The bottom line is that I have been elected to do a job, and I need staff to help me do it.”