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Controversial Chief Constable steps down

[Friday 02 February 2007]
Della Cannings
Della Cannings
Photo: North Yorkshire Police

NORTH Yorkshire's controversial Chief Constable Della Cannings, who has announced that she is to take early retirement at the age of 53, will leave a puzzling legacy for the County's hard-pressed council tax payers.

Under her five year reign, the force has been praised for it's efficiency by Government inspectors - it is rated the fourth best in England - but she has also been at the centre of a series of rows, some of them very expensive, and cost-cutting measures that have seen the closure of dozens of rural police stations.

Soon after she took over, she demanded - and received - a massive 74% increase in police funding which, she said, was essential to improve efficiency. But despite that huge increase, the police station closures went ahead.

There is now only one station in the force which is open 24-hours a day, York. Others, like Skipton, keep office hours and much of the operational control for the Craven area has been moved to Harrogate. This has angered many locals, especially at weekends when many market towns are faced noise and violence from drunken yobbos.

She also made front page news nationally when it was revealed that alterations to her private bathroom at her Northallerton HQ cost £24,000, a figure which she said she knew nothing about: she had only chosen the carpet.

Add to these blunders, she was at the centre of a heated political controversy when she backed plans - since scrapped - to merge all three Yorkshire forces into one "super-force." This proposal infuriated thousands on country dwellers who feared that even more resources would be sucked out of rural areas to the inner cities of Leeds, Bradford and other cities.

She will step down in May.

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