Avon and Somerset chief constable Nick Gargan asked to quit over misconduct

Diana inquest

A chief constable found guilty of eight counts of misconduct has been asked to resign by his force's police and crime commissioner.

Nick Gargan, who was only appointed as Avon and Somerset Police chief constable in January 2013, was suspended from his role on full pay in May last year, pending the outcome of a misconduct hearing over allegations of inappropriate advances to female colleagues and leaked internal emails.

Mr Gargan faced 10 charges of gross misconduct and three charges of misconduct. He was found guilty of eight charges at a level of misconduct.

Chair Dorian Lovell-Pank QC wrote a report of the panel's findings and recommended a sanction of eight final written warnings to Mr Gargan.

Following the misconduct hearing last month Mr Gargan's suspension was lifted but instead of returning to the force he has been working with the National Police Chiefs Council.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said Mr Gargan had "let down" colleagues and communities as she called for him to resign or retire due to "lack of confidence".

Ms Mountstevens said she was using powers under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (section 38) to invoke a procedure calling upon Mr Gargan to quit.

"Chief Constable Nick Gargan has let down the colleagues he led and the communities he was there to protect," she said.

"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.

"As the chief constable, Nick Gargan should have led by example and demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, values and professional behaviour. Instead he has shown flawed judgment and been found guilty of eight counts of misconduct including two of discreditable conduct.

"From what I have seen and heard, he has lost the confidence of local people, police officers and staff.

"Over the last six weeks since the panel's findings concerns have been raised to me by the Chief Officer Group, Superintendents Association, Police Federation and Unison about Nick Gargan continuing to lead Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

"I believe that there is now a detrimental impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of him leading Avon and Somerset Constabulary, which is why I have today initiated the process to require him to resign.

"This is a separate process from the misconduct procedure and I will be writing to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor to seek his views."