Royal Ulster Constabulary, Acting Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Chief Constable of West Yorkshire.
- In 2002, as Acting Chief Constable of the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland, he presided over the critical early phases of a police operation that exposed an alleged IRA spy ring in the Northern Ireland Office – otherwise known as "Stormontgate".
- Although elements in the Government and MI5 had been tempted to go easy on this investigation for the sake of the peace process, Cramphorn was undeterred: though he accepted the inevitability of politics, he was thoroughly unaffected by it. The ensuing arrests resulted in the collapse of the devolved executive and despite repeated efforts by the British and Irish governments, it has still not been re-constituted.
On the peace process
Dean Godson cited this analysis of the peace process by Cramphorn in August 2005:
- One of the shrewdest of chief constables, Colin Cramphorn, of West Yorkshire — previously acting head of the PSNI — has further noted that far from going out of existence, the IRA is simply refining its modus operandi. It does not need a large amount of Semtex any more: the post-9/11 and 7/7 climate precludes a return to full-scale insurgency. Rather, what republicans need is control of their “own” areas plus a lot of money to subvert the Republic. To that end, says Cramphorn, they also sell their skills to the highest terrorist bidders across the world. In consequence, Ireland will be united in 15 years — but, Cramphorn contends, it will become like Sicily, with “self- policing” by Mafia-style organisations.