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Questions for police boss on new top cop

New Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.

New Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.

The man overseeing policing in Lincolnshire could face a bumpy ride in the next few months from a panel monitoring his work.

Alan Hardwick faced tough questions from the county’s Police and Crime Panel at a hearing on Friday to discuss his recommendation of Neil Rhodes to be Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police.

His appointment was confirmed on Monday after the panel agreed unanimously to support him, but its former chairman Coun Ray Wootton claimed that Mr Hardwick refused to answer questions about reports that he had wanted his “own man” as Chief Constable.

Coun Wootton said: “It was a very exhaustive interview with the Commissioner and Mr Rhodes which lasted about an hour and a quarter.

“But it was quite a contentious meeting as well where the Commissioner refused to answer my question about reports that he had wanted his own man and didn’t want Neil Rhodes as Chief Constable.

“I also asked him why he thought Mr Rhodes was now the best man to lead Lincolnshire and whether he believed his suspension of the Chief Constable (in February) was the reason why there was only one applicant for the post.”

Panel members are due to meet behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the findings of a task group set up by Coun Wootton to examine Mr Hardwick’s handling of the suspension, with the findings to be made public next month.

Mr Hardwick chose not to comment when approached by the Spalding Guardian about Coun Wootton’s claims.

But in a statement on the Commissioner’s website, he said: “Neil (Rhodes) and I can continue a professional partnership that we’ve had for quite a long time and I know that both of us are looking forward to 2014 with great confidence and great optimism.”

 

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