Do policing and politics make happy bedfellows, or is a fundamental principle of British policing, operational independence, being eroded?
School of Justice Studies annual police constable's lecture
Free event - open to students, staff and members of the public
Accountability is crucial in policing and Chief Constables should always be accountable to the communities they serve.
Police and Crime Commissioners were introduced with the intention of increasing democratic influence upon Chief Constables, but has that undermined one of the Peelian principles of policing that Chief Constables should be operationally independent of policy and political influences in decision making?
About Andy Cooke QPM
Andy joined Merseyside Police in 1985 having obtained an Honours Degree in Politics from Nottingham University and has served as a Detective at every rank. Having served as a Constable and Detective Constable for 10 years, Andy was promoted as Sergeant, and shortly after as Detective Sergeant in South Liverpool.
In 1998, Andy was promoted to temporary Detective Inspector in charge of the Robbery Squad where he led and managed covert investigations into force wide and regional armed robbery offences.
In 1999, he was promoted to Detective Inspector in charge of Target Operations at the Major Crime Unit where he was responsible for the conviction of numerous key individuals involved in serious and organised crime.
In 2001, Andy was promoted to Detective Chief Inspector, Senior Investigating Officer, in the St. Helens area. He was responsible for leading all major investigations and the development of the crime reduction strategies. He had responsibility for policy formulation as the Force Crime Reduction Co-ordinator on promotion to Detective Superintendent before being posted back to St. Helens as Operations Manager.
In 2004, he was promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent where he established and became the first Commander of the nationally recognised ‘Matrix’ team, responsible for tackling gun and gang enabled crime.
In 2006, he became Area Commander for South Liverpool, where he was instrumental in significantly reducing crime, antisocial behaviour and disorder. During this time, South Liverpool became one of the highest performing Basic Command Units in the Country.
Whilst at Liverpool South, Andy also devised an approach to tackling serious organised crime within the security industry in the run-up to Capital of Culture 2008. The initiative was lauded at a national level and continues to drive criminality out of the industry.
In 2008, he left Merseyside Police after being appointed as Assistant Chief Constable in Lancashire Constabulary, with responsibility for Specialist Operations. During this time he significantly improved the safety of communities by developing the Force’s capability to deal with serious organised and cross border criminality through the implementation of a co-ordinated, multifaceted approach to serious criminality and the introduction of a £3.5m Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) programme across Lancashire. He was also the regional lead for serious and organised crime with responsibility for Titan.
In 2010, Andy became Assistant Chief Constable for Territorial Operations, Criminal Justice and Contact Management, leading the Constabulary to considerable reductions in crime and increased detections against a backdrop of significant cuts and resources.
In 2012, Andy returned to Merseyside Police after being appointed as Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for the Operations portfolio. In September 2013, he was appointed Deputy Chief Constable.
Nationally, he has the privilege of being the NPCC lead for witness protection (now referred to as Protected Persons), and led the programme to implement witness protection on a national basis, resulting in the creation of the United Kingdom Protected Persons Service (UKPPS).
Andy also performed the role of NPCC Lead for Violence and Public Protection between 2014 and 2016. He has extensive operational experience and is an experienced Senior Investigating Officer for homicide, corruption and covert operations. In addition, he has extensive experience of commanding firearms and public order operations and major events.
Andy has been commended on ten occasions and in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours in 2014 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal. In July 2016, Andy was appointed Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.