There are a number of factors in play here. Firstly, I suspect Gary doesn't actually want to go. Through that, and his relationship with the DHA there may have been, shall we say an 'over-egging' of what is actually required here. The Isle of Man Police, if it operated a truly empowered model and trained its staff to the highest standards at all level, and worked on a basis of the habit of trust, is not a difficult organisation to run. It is full of decent, hard-working, motivated people who just want to be able to get on with their job and for that to be facilitated by good leadership.
It is five years today since I walked out of the front door of Dukes Avenue, leaving my warrant at the door. In that time I've been privileged to stay in touch with many former colleagues still serving, but also to meet and build relationships with a significant number of senior officers, both serving and recently retired. The fact of the matter is that any decent contemporary Superintendent from a provincial or metropolitan UK force could comfortably occupy the Chief Constable's seat on the Isle of Man. They are working in an incredibly complex world, and their capacity, political nous and ability to process masses of information and deploy their resources effectively is inspirational. The Island has its complexities, but there is nowhere near the tempo of UK operations. I do believe that Dan Davies has been encouraged to look above far too high a bar.
So why are people not applying? There are a number of factors. The first is that the adverts collided with an unprecedented number of ACC vacancies. Therefore, the talent stayed put, and the next tranche was promoted into the Supt and Ch Supt roles that were made available as a result. Secondly, I am told that there is a lack of understanding at the DHA as to how a modern CC might operate. They seem to be expecting them to relocate lock, stock and barrel here. As with Mike Langdon, all that is needed is a solid footprint - a flat or house to operate from so that family links can be maintained in the UK and time can be spent away to decompress. IF the force had maintained a Deputy Chief Constable model - which could be comfortably be filled by a local Superintendent in the old mode where that was their nominal rank, then it would be easy to model. As it is, the Chief has become all-powerful, with no intermediary to step up automatically in their absence. I think many of us still believe the removal of this rank in the force was a serious strategic error.
And that brings us to another issue; the DHA has no 'tactical advisor' in respect of policing other than the CC. Therefore it will be inclined to do as it is told. I suspect if they had the good sense to take on a recently retired UK DCC or CC as a consultant on a retainer, who they could ring for another perspective, then things might well be different. As it is, the initial debacle of being unable to anoint a Deputy (interesting we now need one after many years without) was a good indicator of where things were going.
I've spoken to a number of people who would have been exceptional candidates for the job. They've had a look, but are discouraged by the isolation, the politics, and the lack of flexibility at the DHA in terms of their personal life and work balance. If you cannot entice people to move for 150 grand a year and 20% tax, there is something far wrong. maybe the recent tranche of resignations and the Ranson case might be a flag to candidates that change is possible.
In the interim, the sensible thing to do would be to get the failed local candidate away on the Strategic Command Course, and start to develop them for at least the DCC post/ CC interim so that Gary can get his retirement plans underway.