Access Keys:

Skip main menu

High Sheriff

This tradition goes back 1,000 years and the High Sheriff is the oldest secular officer under the Crown.

Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its official functions are now largely ceremonial.

Today's duties include attendance at Royal Visits to the county, escorting High Court Judges on circuit in the county.

Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. The High Sheriff Association adopted DebtCred and Crimebeat in recent years in response to specific areas of need.

The office of High Sheriff is held for one year.  A nomination ceremony is held each November in the Royal Courts of Justice. Three names are put forward for the Office of High Sheriff in each county and one of them is selected by the Sovereign at a subsequent meeting of the Privy Council, the appointed name is "pricked with a bodkin".

High Sheriffs receive no remuneration and no part of the expense of a High Sheriff's year falls on the public purse. The Office is independent, non-political and unpaid. High Sheriffs have a particular interest in law and order and pay special attention to the work of such statutory bodies as the Police, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

For further information about the role and history of the High Sheriff please visit the High Sheriff's Association

The High Sheriff for Cumbria 2016/2017 is Alistair Wannop.

Married to Julie, they have two grown up children, Brook and Natasha.

Alistair is a farmer from north Cumbria, he has been responsible for successful diversification into a golf course business and extensive investment in renewable energy.

Involved in public work for many years beginning with extensive roles in the NFU including being the youngest County Chairman for Cumbria at the age of 29. Following this role he became Chairman of the Minister of Agriculture's Northern advisory panel for three years.

He worked with NFU and local stakeholders at the time of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and subsequently joined the board of Rural Regeneration Cumbria, a grant giving public sector body formed to assist with recovery following the downturn in the rural economy brought about by the foot and mouth disease outbreak.

Later he sat on the board of Cumbria Vision, a public sector body charged with boosting economic development throughout the county.

Alistair was also a director for five years of EFFP ( English Food and Farming Partnership ), a national body formed by government to facilitate, research and encourage cooperation in agriculture and the food sector.

Alistair has been a non executive director of Carr's Group PLC for eleven years.

He enjoys several forms of recreation including golf, shooting, cycling and skiing particularly if they are being carried out in good company !

The new High Sheriff is usually "installed" on the last Wednesday in March.