A POLICE force's temporary chief constable is set to be offered the job on a permanent basis after impressing the new police and crime commissioner.

Barry Coppinger recommended that Jacqui Cheer be given the £140,000 a year post, a move which has been approved by the area’s Police and Crime Panel.

Mrs Cheer, who was the only applicant for the job, was described as ‘an exceptional police officer’ who has led the force well through a difficult period.

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She was appointed as temporary chief after the previous chief constable, Sean Price, was arrested and suspended as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption involving Cleveland Police and the former Cleveland Police Authority.

Mr Price was dismissed from the force in October for gross misconduct after an eight-day disciplinary hearing.

Mrs Cheer spent 22 years working with Essex Police and the Home Office Reform Unit before joining the Suffolk Force as Assistant Chief Constable in 2006, leading the investigation into the murders of five women in the Ipswich area.

She was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk in November the following year and was subsequently seconded to Cleveland. She serves as the lead on Children and Young People for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Mr Coppinger said: “I believe we have been very fortunate to have a candidate of the quality of Jacqui Cheer who has already demonstrated both her leadership skills and her ability to introduce the new ways of working we need to meet the demands of modern policing and protect front-line services to the public at a time when resources are under unprecedented pressure.

"She fully understands and supports my top priority of retaining and developing Neighbourhood Policing as the bedrock of our service to the public.”

The decision to recommend Mrs Cheer’s appointment was made by a panel including the commissioner, the former Chief Constable of West Mercia Paul West and Stockton Council Chief Executive Neil Schneider.

Mrs Cheer said: “The last year has been challenging yet extremely rewarding and I look forward to continuing the work to shape the force for the future.

“I am grateful for the support of everyone working for Cleveland Police and our partner agencies, who are all dedicated to keeping Cleveland safe and reducing crime and antisocial behaviour.”

The Police and Crime Panel will hold a confirmation hearing to consider Mrs Cheer’s appointment on Tuesday, February 5.

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