Snettisham-based ex-Canadian diplomat eyes Norfolk police chief role

Lorne Green from Snettisham, who is standing for Police and Crime Commissioner. ANL-150511-131122009
Lorne Green from Snettisham, who is standing for Police and Crime Commissioner. ANL-150511-131122009

A diplomat who walked the tightrope of negotiating with warring factions during the bloody Balkan civil war will learn this weekend if he is to stand in next May’s police and crime commissioner elections.

Lorne Green, 69, has travelled all over the world in his 30-year career in the Canadian foreign ministry, which saw him in the former state of Yugoslavia as it imploded into fighting.

Mr Green was in charge of the Canadian embassy in Belgrade and had to negotiate with Radovan Karadzic, who was arrested in 2008 and later tried for war crimes.

Now Mr Green, who has lived with wife Valerie in her native Snettisham for nearly 30 years, will learn today if he will be representing the Conservative party in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Norfolk.

The father-of-three, who met his wife of 46 years while she was travelling in Canada, said: “Despite the accent I still consider myself to be local.”

Mr Green grew up above his father’s shop on a small island in Nova Scotia but ended up in London, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bulgaria and Albania, along with NATO in Brussels.

In October 1989, the couple arrived in Yugoslavia.

Mr Green said: “When we arrived, it was a country of hope and optimism but to watch it fall apart was a great tragedy.”

He and the team faced the challenge of functioning as an embassy while trying to build up an accurate picture of what was happening on the ground.

He said: “People have a perception of diplomats at cocktail parties, but that is not what it was like in Yugoslavia or Pakistan. It was a hard slog.”

During this time he met Karadzic, who was later put on trial at The Hague.

Mr Green said: “I met him a couple of times and found he was easy to talk to. Don’t misunderstand me, this man was involved in terrible things.

“They have an interest and try to show you that their interest is the good one.

“I was trained and experienced enough to know exactly what was going on and didn’t allow myself to be seduced by that sort of thing.

“On a level he was a rather interesting and well-educated individual.”

In 1998 he helped to set up a trade association for the nuclear transport industry.