Former Merseyside chief in line to replace Sir Tom Winsor

Andy Cooke QPM, the former chief constable of Merseyside Police, has been confirmed as the Government’s preferred candidate for the role of HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Fire and Rescue Inspector in England.


Mar 21, 2022
By Tony Thompson
HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke

Pre-appointment scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) will follow shortly which is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Andrew Cooke has substantial experience in the field of law enforcement and has already held several important leadership roles. Having also considered the breadth of his skills and the valuable insights into policing he offers, I believe he is the right person to take on this vital role at a crucial time for the sector.

“I am grateful to Sir Tom Winsor for his excellent work over the last ten years. He has carried out his duties with distinction and has achieved much – not least bringing the Fire and Rescue Service into the Inspectorate’s fold – as he has helped ensure the public are served to the standard we expect.”

Mr Cooke has worked in UK policing and law enforcement for nearly 36 years, where the majority of his service has been with Merseyside Police. He joined the force in 1985 having obtained an Honours Degree in Politics from Nottingham University.

He served at every rank with the force and had numerous roles including being in charge of the Robbery Squad and Target Operations at the Major Crime Unit. He became the first Commander of the nationally recognised ‘Matrix’ team, responsible for tackling gun and gang enabled crime.

In 2008, Mr Cooke was appointed assistant chief constable of Lancashire Constabulary where he held the roles of ACC Specialist Operations and ACC Territorial Operations. He returned to Merseyside in 2012, was promoted to deputy chief constable in 2013 and in 2016 he was appointed chief constable. During this time, Mr Cooke led the biggest reorganisation in Merseyside Police’s 40-year history. While he was chief constable, Merseyside was graded as the highest performing metropolitan force by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

He is currently a HM Inspector, a role he took up in April 2021. Mr Cooke will replace Sir Tom Winsor who has led HMICFRS for the past ten years and whose term will end on March 31.

Following a pre-appointment hearing, HASC will publish its recommendations, which the Government will consider before deciding whether to finalise the appointment.

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