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Statement on complaint to Police and Crime Panel


Sue Mountstevens

I wanted to share with you an update in relation to a complaint made to the Police and Crime Panel earlier this year and which has now been resolved.

In May 2014 I was made aware by a member of my team that someone had approached them and made a verbal complaint against Chief Constable Nick Gargan. During a subsequent conversation with Mr Gargan I was discussing a concern I had around how that individual was coping generally, and I mentioned that a complaint had been made against him by that person.

At the time of the conversation I was not aware of the full facts which became apparent subsequently – including the detail of the allegations being made and the request for whistle-blower status. As soon as I became aware of the seriousness of the allegations I initiated the investigation process by voluntarily referring the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and included details of my conversation with Mr Gargan.

A complaint about the disclosure of the name was subsequently made to the Police and Crime Panel who looked into the matter and found that I had made a mistake. I agreed with their finding and I have already written to the individual concerned to apologise for the distress I caused.

I firmly believe that everyone in public office needs to be held to the same high standard of conduct which is why I told the IPCC of my conversation before their investigation began. I have cooperated fully with the Police and Crime Panel’s investigation process. This was a new situation for me and, while I could have handled it better, I have learnt from it and employees within the Constabulary can feel confident approaching me or my team if they have issues they feel uncomfortable raising elsewhere.

There are a number of ways staff and officers can raise issues confidentially which include speaking to their line manager, reporting it to the Professional Standards department or by using an anonymous phone line or email system.

Sue Mountstevens

Posted on Friday 24th October 2014
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