Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable to retire

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has announced that Andy Cooke QPM has informed her of his decision to retire as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police to take up a new appointment, details of which will be released in due course.

Jane Kennedy paid tribute to him for his exemplary service to Merseyside and to the police service here for more than 35 years, having joined Merseyside Police in 1985. Chief Constable Cooke has been commended on 10 occasions and, in 2014, was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal.

Chief Constable Cooke has been Merseyside’s most senior police officer for nearly five years since being appointed by the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, in July 2016. Since then, he has also been the lead for serious and organised crime on the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and the National Policing lead for all crime.

Throughout his tenure, Merseyside Police has continually been graded as the best performing urban force in the country by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary, maintaining this performance in spite of the challenges created by unprecedented budget cuts.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “It is with very mixed emotions that I am today announcing Andy Cooke’s decision to retire as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police. He will leave the force in April 2021.

“On behalf of the people of Merseyside, I offer Andy my heartfelt thanks for his commitment to policing and to Merseyside over more than three decades. Andy has served the people of Merseyside since 1985 with unwavering courage, integrity and dedication.

“He has been an outstanding leader, always professional and clear-sighted, with a deep attachment to the communities of Merseyside, one who has truly embodied his own motto for the force; ‘Community First’. Born and bred in Liverpool, Andy has been a passionate advocate for the force and for the region throughout his exceptional career.

“It has been an honour to have appointed and then to work alongside such a first class Chief Constable, delivering our shared priorities to keep Merseyside safe. Andy is rightly recognised as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable police chiefs in the country, who has been at the forefront of the fight against serious and organised crime at a local, regional and national level.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable and PCC Jane Kennedy.

“Andy has been a dedicated public servant throughout his career and I know he will continue to serve with distinction until he officially leaves the role.

“I thank Andy wholeheartedly for his service to policing and to the people of Merseyside. He has been an outstanding Chief Constable and I am sorry that his time has come to leave us. I wish him every success and happiness in his future endeavours.”

After joining the force in 1985, Chief Constable Cooke served as Detective at every rank, including having responsibility for the robbery squad and targeted operations at the Major Crime Unit. In 2004, he established and became the first Commander of the nationally recognised ‘Matrix’ team, responsible for tackling gun and gang crime.

Two years later, he became Area Commander for South Liverpool, during which time he devised a nationally applauded approach to tackling serious organised crime within the security industry.

In 2008, he left Merseyside Police to take up the role of Assistant Chief Constable in Lancashire Constabulary, where he served for four years before returning to Merseyside at the same rank. He was quickly promoted to Deputy, and three years later took over from Sir Jon Murphy as Chief Constable.

Chief Constable Cooke said: “After 36 years in policing and rapidly approaching five years as Chief of the best police force in the country, I would like to take the opportunity to inform you that despite being very kindly offered an extension to my contract by the PCC, I have decided to retire as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

I wanted to place on record my thanks for the incredible support both the force and I have received from Merseyside communities and stakeholders over the period.

“I know that the men and women (and dogs and horses!) of this force are daily doing fantastic acts to keep our community safe and I could not be prouder of them. Merseyside is the highest rated metropolitan force in the country, an achievement we are very proud of and which emphasises our commitment to keep the people of Merseyside safe.

“I have been exceptionally proud to lead the force and I would like to thank the PCC Jane Kennedy with whom it has been a pleasure to work alongside.”