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New police chief constable Nick Gargan vows to make a 'real difference'

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

  • Nick Gargan is set to replace the current Avon and Somerset chief constable Colin Port, who is retiring at the end of this month after refusing to re-apply for his own job

  • New police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset Sue Mountstevens

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The new chief constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be Nick Gargan.

Mr Gargan, 46, the former chief constable and chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, is set to replace the current chief constable Colin Port, who is retiring at the end of this month after refusing to re-apply for his own job.

New police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset Sue Mountstevens is proposing Mr Gargan after leading an appointments panel in a two-day intensive selection process last week.

Her proposal will be considered at the Police and Crime Panel which meets at North Somerset Council’s Castlewood office in Clevedon on Wednesday.

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Mr Port took Ms Mountstevens to court earlier this month claiming he had been effectively forced from his post “unlawfully” after she told him she wanted to recruit a new chief constable to serve for five years. He argued that he was entitled to six months’ notice of a decision not to renew his contract. High Court judge Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart ruled that Ms Mountstevens had not broken any rules.

Commenting on her decision to propose Mr Gargan as the new chief constable Ms Mountstevens said: “Nick is an experienced chief officer who has been working on a national level as chief constable and chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency.

“He has been involved in the Ministerial High Level Working Group on Value for Money, and was the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Lead on investigations as well as holding roles with Thames Valley and Leicestershire Constabulary.

“There was a strong field of candidates and the appointments panel had a difficult job. I would like to publicly thank all the candidates for their interest and the panel for giving up their time to be part of this important process.”

Mr Gargan said: “I am proud to take up the position of chief constable for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, subject to the confirmation hearing. This is an exciting opportunity for me to work with the police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens. Together we will continue the force’s improvements in reducing crime and victim satisfaction.

“My experience from the National Policing Improvement Agency and previous roles in Thames Valley and Leicestershire will enable me to make a real difference to the communities of Avon and Somerset. I look forward to leading the very committed and dedicated police officers and staff within Avon and Somerset Constabulary.”

Mr Gargan will take up his role on March 1, subject to the confirmation hearing. Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley will act as Chief Constable on an interim basis from January 27 until Mr Gargan’s appointment takes effect.

The four people who have applied to be the new chief constable of Dorset will soon find out if they have been successful.

Out of the applicants three are deputy chief constables and one is an assistant chief constable in police forces in England and Wales.

Debbie Simpson, the current acting chief constable for Dorset, is one of the four applicants.

A five-strong panel, including the Dorset police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill, met to consider the applications on Friday, with the same panel undertaking a two-day selection process on January 21 and 22.

The successful applicant will be formally nominated by the police and crime commissioner to the Dorset Police and Crime Panel for scrutiny and approval on February 12.

It is hoped that the new chief constable will be able to take up the post as soon as possible after the formal selection process.

Mr Underhill said: “There are currently 11 chief constable posts advertised or in the process of recruiting in England and Wales.

“With so many vacancies at the same time, I am pleased to have received four applications. The number of candidates and their high calibre is testament to the excellent reputation of the force.”

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