New Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison reveals Chief Constable Lee Freeman is there to stay after force becomes most improved in country under his leadership

The Chief Constable of one of the most improved police forces in the country has assured his new boss he is there to stay following an incredible turnaround under his leadership.

Lee Freeman, the Chief Constable of Humberside Police, has told the new Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison that he is committed to the force after it has become one of the best in the country under his reign.

There were rumours Mr Freeman may leave to take charge of another force following a successful three-month secondment as interim chief constable at Cleveland Police on the recommendation of the College of Policing, and one only has to look at the success of former South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson, who has now moved to lead Greater Manchester Police.

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Mr Evison said one of his priorities as PCC is to ensure Mr Freeman stays with the force.

Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman.
Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman.

He said: "I've known Lee a few years. I first met him quite a few years before he became Chief Constable, he was a senior officer in the Lincolnshire police force. I had done a scrutiny review for child sexual exploitation following the Rotherham disaster and we got Lee to come across because he had got some specialism in this.

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"He is an excellent and dedicated officer. He also knows what success is all about. He likes to win and be successful and so do I.

"A successful person gets people who are better than them to work with them and that's what Lee has done. He's got some very, very good senior officers and he has surrounded himself by extremely competent officers, right up and down the the line.

"He's reassured me that he's staying with Humberside Police."

Mr Freeman became Chief Constable in June 2017 after his predecessor Justine Curran stepped down from the force which was rated as "inadequate" by Her Majesty's Inspectorate. Officer morale was also the lowest in the country.

Mr Freeman, who hails from Grimsby, was handed a two-year contract extension by former PCC Keith Hunter in May 2019.

The extension means his contract now runs until June 2024.

Mr Hunter said at the time: "It is my belief that losing Lee Freeman in the foreseeable future would be damaging to the force in a number of respects.

Mr Evison said: “The force is in a far, far better place than it was and we have an extremely competent and professional Chief Constable.

“Keith put a lot of things in place that has allowed the Chief to do a terrific job. I very much supported Keith in a lot of things he put forward.

“Myself and the Chief have very similar views on how you manage. I come from an electrical engineer and production management background with total quality management and continuous improvement so we are on a level together and we will continue to build the police and crime agenda in the Humber region as we go forward.

“We have some really good passionate people and I’ve been impressed by just about everybody.”