St Helens’ former top detective has been revealed as the preferred choice as the next chief constable of Merseyside Police.
The region’s police commissioner Jane Kennedy named Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke as the replacement to Sir Jon Murphy when he retires in June.
DCC Cooke’s appointment is subject to final approval by the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel.
He served as the St Helens area’s senior investigating officer between 2001 and 2005, before being promoted to head up Merseyside Police’s Matrix team, which investigates serious and organised crimes.
His appointment followed a rigorous assessment and interview process by a panel made up of faith leaders and local politicians, including St Helens Council’s leader, Barrie Grunewald.
He will now go before the police panel, an independent body made up of 10 local councillors and two independent members recruited from the local community which scrutinises the work of the Merseyside Police Commissioner and has the power to veto her decisions.
Mrs Kennedy said: “Andy Cooke is an exceptional officer who has already served the people of Merseyside for more than 25 years.
“He has a wealth of operational experience and has demonstrated clear strategic leadership both as Deputy Chief Constable and through this assessment process.
“I am pleased to announce he is my preferred candidate to be the next Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.
“He will now go forward to the Police and Crime Panel who will consider his appointment at a confirmation hearing on March 17.
“Sir Jon Murphy has been an outstanding leader and a dedicated servant to the public of Merseyside.
“It will be a sad day when he leaves the force in June, but I have no doubt that Andy is the best person to step into those shoes and continue to ensure Merseyside Police remains one of the top performing police forces in the country.
“We are lucky to once again be in the position to have a born and bred Merseysider who has served the force at every rank, stepping forward for the top job.”
Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy added: “I am delighted that Andy Cooke has been identified as the PCC’s preferred candidate to be the next Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.
“He is Liverpool born and bred – he served at the sharp end of policing and spent four years as Assistant Chief Constable in Lancashire before returning to Merseyside to be Deputy Chief Constable a couple of years ago.
“He has been an outstanding Deputy Chief Constable and I have every confidence he is the right person to lead the force in the challenging years ahead. The Force is in good hands.”
DCC Cooke joined Merseyside Police in 1985 and has served the Force as a detective in every rank.
During his service, he has led the robbery squad and the major crime unit. In 2005, he became the first commander of the nationally-recognised Matrix team responsible for tackling gun and gang crime, before becoming Area Commander for South Liverpool.
In 2008, DCC Cooke left Merseyside to take up the role of Assistant Chief Constable at Lancashire Constabulary.
He returned in 2012 after being appointed as Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for the Operations portfolio, before taking up the post of Temporary Deputy Chief Constable in August 2013.
This position was made permanent in September 2013.
DCC Cooke was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2014. He is also the National Policing Lead for both the Violence and Public Protection Portfolio, and the United Kingdom Protected Persons Service.