No charges over police chief emails

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A chief constable facing claims that he made “inappropriate advances” to female colleagues and leaked internal emails will escape prosecution, the police watchdog has confirmed.

Nick Gargan, from Avon and Somerset police, was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over the allegations but will not face criminal charges.

He was suspended from his role as chief constable in May, and it is now up to Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to decide whether to take separate disciplinary action.

IPCC Deputy Chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “I have provided the police and crime commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, with a report detailing our findings as to whether or not Mr Gargan has a case to answer for either misconduct or gross misconduct and should face disciplinary proceedings.

“Our investigation uncovered evidence that the Chief Constable may have breached the Data Protection Act by sending emails concerning police business, which contained personal data, to individuals unconnected to the force. Having thoroughly considered that evidence, I decided that it was insufficient for a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“Under police complaints procedure, it is now a matter for the PCC to respond to me with a decision on what action she proposes to take as a result of our findings.”

The data claims emerged as part of an IPCC inquiry into claims that Mr Gargan “abused his senior position by making inappropriate advances to more junior female members of staff”.

The PCC now has two weeks to decide whether to take action against Mr Gargan.

In a statement, the PCC’s office said: “The report will now be considered carefully and a decision taken on whether or not to refer the matter to misconduct proceedings.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner has 15 working days – until Monday November 3 – to make a decision. Chief Constable Nick Gargan currently remains suspended and John Long will continue as acting Chief Constable.”

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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