Nick Gargan suspended on full £150k salary as PCC calls for his resignation
PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 August 2015
The process which may mean Chief Constable Nick Gargan will have to resign from his post has begun - as the cost of his misconduct hearing case reaches more than £570,000.
An independent panel found Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s chief guilty of eight counts of misconduct and recommended he was given eight written warnings.
He was found to have forwarded emails containing confidential information, used a police-issue iPhone to take, send and receive intimate pictures and to have pursued relationships with female staff within the force.
She has begun the process under section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act and says there is a ‘lack of confidence’ in Mr Gargan, meaning he is unable to lead the force.
Mr Gargan has once again been suspended from his £150,000-a-year job on full pay.
Speaking at a press conference on August 19, Ms Mountstevens said: “This morning, in a sanction hearing with Mr Gargan, I gave him his eight final written warnings.
“He abused his position by forwarding confidential emails, interfering with a proper recruitment process and sending, receiving and storing intimate images on his police-issue phone.
“He has been suspended as of this morning. He remains on full pay, that is police regulation.”
The cost of Mr Gargan’s misconduct hearing has now breached half-a-million pounds, with £354,000 spent on legal costs, £188,000 on salary costs, including the price of having two chief constables, £30,000 on panel expenses and £3,500 on other hearing costs including catering, printing and stationery.
The panel’s report also noted how Mr Gargan tried to pursue relationships with members of staff within the constabulary, despite advice from Ms Mountstevens against it.
The report said: “Shortly after your appointment, the PCC requested of you that you eschew intimate relationships with members of the constabulary.”
Ms Mountstevens said: “It came from experience I have had before this job. I have seen in a number of organisations that it has been difficult.
“It wasn’t an instruction, it was advice. I gave him advice.”
Ms Mountstevens has now written to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor, which will initiate the process calling for Mr Gargan’s resignation – which is expected to take at least two months.
A public petition calling for him to quit was given to Ms Mountstevens, who was preparing for his phased return to work.
She said: “Once I had heard the panel’s findings that he was going to have eight final warnings I was working on the assumption that he was going to return to work and that we were going to be bringing him back into the force.
“However the evidence I have now seen and heard from the public and police officers and staff make Nick Gargan returning to work untenable.”