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Dorset Police Chief Constable Debbie Simpson to retire

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Dorset Police has announced that Chief Constable Debbie Simpson is to retire this year.

The Chief Constable took up her current position five years ago, after working as Deputy Chief Constable for the Force and following time at Devon & Cornwall Police. She will leave the Force on Friday 6 April 2018.

She will be replaced ‘temporarily’ by Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan as force ‘formally explores closer working relationships between Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police, including the possibility of a merger’.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: ‘After almost 35 years in policing, I have decided it is the right time for me to retire from my role as Chief Constable.

‘I did not make the decision lightly and have considered the timing to minimise the impact on the important work we are doing. For example, we are strengthening our alliance with Devon & Cornwall Police and continuing to explore a potential merger of the two forces. I am proud of what we have already achieved by working more closely together.

‘I will be working hard up until my retirement in April; as there remains a lot of work to be done locally, regionally, and in my national portfolios around forensics and senior leadership development.

‘As you would imagine, I have been doing lots of thinking and reflecting, but over the next few months I will stay focused on leading the important service we provide to the public. Nearer my retirement date, I plan to share some more personal reflections on my time in policing.’

Police & Crime Commissioners are responsible for appointing Chief Constables.

Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill explained: ‘It is with regret that I announce the pending retirement of Chief Constable Debbie Simpson. Her contribution to policing in Dorset has been outstanding and she has served Dorset Police and the people of Dorset with great distinction during her time of service. I wish her every success and happiness in her next adventure.

‘She will be a very hard act to follow and I want to thank her on behalf of the people of Dorset for her enthusiasm, determination, professionalism, passion and belief in policing, during unprecedented periods of austerity and change. In the last six years, she has changed the culture of the Force to one of safeguarding, prevention and an ability to learn from mistakes.

‘Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan has been chosen by me as the preferred candidate for the role of Chief Constable. This will be a temporary appointment as we continue to explore a potential merger with Devon & Cornwall Police. DCC Vaughan is an outstanding officer at local, regional and national levels. He has served as DCC in this Force and worked across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset as Chief Operating Officer for the last year. I look forward to welcoming him to the role.’

DCC Vaughan’s appointment as temporary Chief Constable will be subject to a confirmation hearing by the Dorset Police and Crime Panel. PCC Martyn Underhill has taken the decision to make this a temporary appointment in light of the ongoing plans to formally explore closer working relationships between Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police, including the possibility of a merger.

Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan added: ‘I have had the pleasure of working for five years alongside Chief Constable Debbie Simpson as her deputy. She has been an inspirational leader and leaves a legacy of good work in Dorset and further afield.

‘It has also been an honour and privilege to work with the committed men and women of Dorset Police, during particularly challenging times for policing and the wider public sector.

‘As we continue to navigate through a complex and changing policing landscape, I will relish the opportunity to lead them and work hard to ensure we can deliver the best possible policing for the people of Dorset. This will include continuing to strengthen our alliance with Devon & Cornwall Police and exploring a potential merger of the two forces.’

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