So here I am sat in a hotel on the outskirts of Derby, what better than write something for my reader, good evening.
I was minding my own business today when I came across a post from Police Oracle regarding Nick Gargan’s impending discipline hearing, that should have kicked off about a week ago.
It seems like Disclosure Issues can be sorted if you’re a Chief Constable
The original hearing was meant to take place in April but was delayed to address ‘disclosure issues’
A chief constable facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards female members of staff will face misconduct proceedings in June.
The original hearing for suspended Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan was set to take place on April 20, but was delayed when it became apparent that disclosure issues needed to be addressed.
At a preliminary hearing held on April 24, the chair of the misconduct panel Dorian Lovell-Pank QC listened to representations about whether some documents could be disclosed and made the necessary directions to the legal teams.
The date for the full hearing has now been set for June 29, with the chair stating 10 days should be set aside for the full case to be heard.
HMI Wendy Williams and independent member John Rickard will hear the case and provide their findings in a report to Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to help inform her decision on the outcome of the proceedings.
Ms Mountstevens said earlier this year that she had hoped to hold the hearing in January or February but had faced delays including finding a convenient date for all of the panel to meet and CC Gargan requesting an extenstion to the deadline by which he had to provide a response to the allegations he faced.
A consultation was held over whether to hold the hearing in public, but this was ultimately decided against.
CC Gargan was suspended in May 2014.
Courtesy Police Oracle
My first thought was around the Disclosure issues. I’m pretty certain that we can all quote a few cases where abuse of the Disclosure rules has been an issue, not resolved, and ultimately led to resentment, and allegedly, sometimes a perverse verdict.
Secondly it was pointed out that it had been decided to hold the hearing in private, despite new rules which came into place on 1st May stating that Discipline HeRings would now be held in public unless “it was inappropriate to do so”. A second example of Double Standards? Or maybe it truly was inappropriate, although I can think of thousands of Criminal cases of a similar nature that are most definitely held in public.
Finally, an absolute lulu came to me.
“HMI Wendy Williams and independent member John Rickard will hear the case and provide their findings in a report to Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to help inform her decision on the outcome of the proceedings.” Why is Sue Mounstevens having anything to do with this enquiry, let alone be involved in the decision-making after this;
Sue Mountstevens apologises after telling Chief Constable Nick Gargan the name of a whistle-blower who complained about him
Ms Mounstevens was investigated and found to have committed a “Serious Error of Judgement” for which she later apologised to the alleged victim.
So how can she now still be involved in the discipline process? I’m obviously getting too old for this malarkey, I just don’t get it.
So there you have it, Double Standards or not, this does NOTHING for Public Confidence and Transparency, in short supply in Avon and Somerset it seems.
I’m certainly no fan of Mr Gargan but I am a fan of Fair Play, so Sue, if you can tell me how this constitutes Fair Play I promise to post your reply unedited.