Breckland Council’s deputy chief executive Mark Stokes put forward for role as police and crime commissioner’s chief executive

Scenes from the Norfolk County Council Election count at Memorial Hall in Dereham for the Breckland

Scenes from the Norfolk County Council Election count at Memorial Hall in Dereham for the Breckland Area - Deputy Returning Officer Mark Stokes. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner will tomorrow ask a panel of councillors to endorse his choice for the post of chief executive – the current deputy at Breckland Council.

PCC Stephen Bett has selected Breckland's deputy chief executive Mark Stokes to be his chief executive, but the appointment cannot be confirmed until it is considered by the county's police and crime panel.

At the panel's public meeting next Friday, Mr Bett will explain the responsibilities of the senior role and explain why he thinks Mr Stokes should be appointed to replace Chris Harding, who retires at the end of the year.

The panel will then 'review the candidate's professional competence and personal independence', before making its recommendation on whether or not Mr Stokes should be appointed.

The commissioner may then accept or reject that recommendation, but he must give his reasons back to the panel.


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Mr Stokes will also attend the meeting and answer questions from the panel, which is made up of Norfolk councillors and independent members.

But he declined to speak to the Times last week, saying: 'Out of respect for the police and crime panel, it is inappropriate for me to comment until the panel has met on August 30.'

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Mr Bett said: 'Mark was the best candidate in a strong group of contenders. His knowledge, experience and ideas for the future convinced me, and the panel of partners who interviewed with me, that he is the right person to lead my office.

'Chris (Harding) will be a hard act to follow. It's going to be challenging, but I strongly believe that Mark is up to the task. I look forward to introducing him to the police and crime panel.'

Other forthcoming changes at Mr Bett's office include the departure of Jenny Hayes, deputy chief executive of the former Norfolk Police Authority, who will leave at the end of September, and chief finance officer Bob Summers, who retires in January.

Mr Bett said: 'Changes to my team are inevitable as I strive to shape the best possible support team to help me represent the people of Norfolk.

'I have recruited in areas where my staffing review has identified gaps, appointing a domestic abuse and sexual violence co-ordinator and a media and public affairs manager.

'I am keen to keep staffing costs within the budget of the former Norfolk Police Authority, but I know that will become more challenging as the PCC role and responsibilities widen and develop.'

Mr Stokes' intention to leave his role at Breckland Council was one of the factors which influenced the resignation of the authority's political leader, William Nunn, earlier this week.

Mr Nunn said he wanted to give his successor the opportunity to drive the recruitment of a replacement senior management team, with the council also looking for a permanent replacement for its interim chief executive, Trevor Holden.

The police and crime panel was set up to maintain a 'check and balance' on the performance of the PCC.

Its meeting to discuss the chief executive's appointment will be held in the Cranworth Room at County Hall, Norwich at 9.30am on Friday, with members of the public welcome to attend.

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