Chair and Vice Chair of the Board

Lord Coaker – Independent Chair

Lord Coaker of Gedling in the County of Nottinghamshire

Independent Chair of the Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership Board

Lord Vernon Coaker has been Independent Chair of the CDP Board since September 2020.

Vernon was officially introduced to the House of Lords as Lord Vernon Coaker of Gedling in the County of Nottinghamshire as a Labour Peer on March 22nd 2021. He sits on the front bench in the House of Lords, leading on Defence. Vernon is also involved with Home Office affairs and is in the Whips’ Office and stands up for fairness, equality and social justice. Vernon’s passion to help the most vulnerable has proven a constant throughout his working life. He has also always fully supported an agenda that ensures every child gets the best start in life and access to quality education, whatever their background and wherever they are from.

In July 2020, Vernon joined the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab Principal Research Fellow in Antislavery Policy, where he continues to work internationally to help protect children from trafficking, on the role of businesses in tackling modern slavery, and on work with the Rights Lab’s Modern Slavery Evidence Unit to deliver policy-relevant research.

Vernon began international work in 1997, with his involvement with UNICEF in supporting children and refugees in war torn countries of Kosovo, Macedonia and Angola, amongst others. More recently, Vernon played an important role in raising the profile of Modern Slavery and trafficking as a member of the Council of Europe in 2018 and has seen his work on this being acclaimed internationally.

In 1997, Vernon became the Member of Parliament for Gedling and retained the seat for 22 years. In his constituency work, Vernon completed thousands of pieces of casework, which included bringing about life-saving drugs, housing and care for the elderly, and community safety and protection, new schools and health centres.

During Vernon’s extensive career as the Member of Parliament for Gedling, he was elected six times and had several high-profile government posts. After several Parliamentary Private Secretary roles, Vernon became an assistant whip then a government whip. He served as a Junior Minister at the Home Office, then as Minister of State between October 2008 and June 2009, he had the role of Minister for Police, Security and Community, the role of Minister of State for Schools and Learning between June 2009 and May 2010. Whilst in opposition, Vernon served as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Vernon stood for the first time as a candidate for local councillor in 1979, in the St Mary’s ward of Gedling Borough. In 1983, he became a district councillor in Cotgrave, for Rushcliffe Borough Council and within four years became the Leader of the Labour group. Vernon was born in Westminster, London. His father was a Police Officer in the London Met.   Vernon studied politics at the University of Warwick and hi is life in Nottingham began when he studied to become a teacher at Trent Polytechnic in 1975/6. Vernon dedicated the next 21 years to teaching, first at the Manvers School and then as Head of Department at Arnold Hill School, then as a Senior Teacher at Bramcote Park School and finally as Deputy Head Teacher at Big Wood School in Bestwood (now Oakwood Academy).

Craig Parkin – Vice Chair

Craig Parkin, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service:

Vice Chair of the Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership Board

Craig has been Vice Chair of the CDP Board for 3 years and has a sustained track record in developing a collaborative, multi partner approach to the delivery of public services to the communities of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

With a 26-year career within Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Craig has served at Dunkirk, Central, Stockhill and West Bridgford and spent some time at the NFRS Service Development Centre. He holds several Diplomas, from both Coventry University and Nottingham Trent University, a Master’s in Disaster Management and has completed the Fire sector Executive Leadership Programme.

Craig was Assistant Chief Fire Officer from December 2013 and in February 2019 he was successful in securing the position of Deputy Chief Fire Officer.  He is actively engaged across a range of fire-sector work areas, including the East Midlands National Operational Guidance team as strategic sponsor, East Midlands Emergency Services Network Strategic lead and East Midlands Health and Safety Group as strategic chair. He is also a member of the National Operational Effectiveness Working Group, as health and safety liaison and NFCC National Health and Safety Committee member.

Craig’s current responsibilities since July 2018 includes prevention, protection and response within the Service Delivery directorate, and People and Organisational Development having previously overseen Support Services for the organisation. As a Group Manager, Craig spent some periods working at NFRS headquarters as well as taking charge of frontline firefighting operations for the south of the county.

Prior to joining Nottinghamshire Craig spent six years in the British Army’s Royal Engineers and undertook numerous roles in the private sector over a four-year period.