‘Ex-Gwent chief could have stayed in post’ - police watchdog

South Wales Argus: RETIRED AFTER ULTIMATUM: Former Gwent Police chief constable Carmel Napier RETIRED AFTER ULTIMATUM: Former Gwent Police chief constable Carmel Napier

THE most senior inspector of police in England and Wales has suggested the former chief constable of Gwent could have fought her corner in the row over her departure from the force.

Chief inspector of constabulary Tom Windsor told MPs that police and crime commissioners do not have unfettered powers to dismiss chief constables.

He said it was regrettable if Carmel Napier was given advice that the PCC’s power to dismiss her wasn’t restricted.

In the summer of 2013 the Argus exclusively revealed that PCC Ian Johnston had told Carmel Napier to retire, or else he would dismiss her.

If she had refused, Mr Johnston could have gone down a route set out in law to get rid of her, but this wasn’t implemented after she chose to leave.

Mr Windsor, speaking at the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the suggestion that Mr Johnston was dissatisfied with the quality of crime recording in Gwent “remained an accusation rather than established fact because the chief constable was persuaded, in my view, incorrectly, to retire rather than to fight the case. Therefore the police and crime commissioner did not have to invoke the statutory procedure to dismiss the chief constable.”

Mr Windsor, who was responding to a question from Newport West MP Paul Flynn, said he feared that Mrs Napier “proceeded in a misapprehension that the power of the police and crime commissioner to dismiss the chief constable was an unfettered power. There is no power conferred upon a public authority that is unfettered. If that is the advice she received and if that is the reason why she retired, then that is very regrettable.”

He went on to say that it was “perfectly legitimate for the police and crime commissioner to put pressure on the chief constable to improve statistics by cutting crime and locking people up” but ”not in any way to falsify the figures”.

Mr Johnston said: “Its history. It’s over six months ago. We’re moving on.”

Mrs Napier had told the same committee in July that she initially wanted to fight Mr Johnston’s ultimatum – but after seeking legal advice she had discovered that commissioner’s have unfettered powers to remove chief constables, even if she fought it through the formal process.

Comments (6)

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10:44am Mon 30 Dec 13

bobmech1 says...

She should have stood her ground against
The alleged grievance's, though I can understand that the action could have caused harm to the force and it's reputation. Even though it seems to have been tarnished by the lack of candidates for her replacement
She should have stood her ground against The alleged grievance's, though I can understand that the action could have caused harm to the force and it's reputation. Even though it seems to have been tarnished by the lack of candidates for her replacement bobmech1

11:51am Mon 30 Dec 13

The Full Monty says...

I quote above "she chose to leave" when confronted about performance. Therefore this is old news, why are we still talking about this?
appears the Gwent Police have moved on, so should Paul Flynn and the SWA.
I quote above "she chose to leave" when confronted about performance. Therefore this is old news, why are we still talking about this? appears the Gwent Police have moved on, so should Paul Flynn and the SWA. The Full Monty

1:26pm Mon 30 Dec 13

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

The Full Monty wrote:
I quote above "she chose to leave" when confronted about performance. Therefore this is old news, why are we still talking about this?
appears the Gwent Police have moved on, so should Paul Flynn and the SWA.
Agreed. I couldn't give much of a toss about this story at the time, and care even less about it now.
[quote][p][bold]The Full Monty[/bold] wrote: I quote above "she chose to leave" when confronted about performance. Therefore this is old news, why are we still talking about this? appears the Gwent Police have moved on, so should Paul Flynn and the SWA.[/p][/quote]Agreed. I couldn't give much of a toss about this story at the time, and care even less about it now. GardenVarietyMushroom

3:22pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Frankfurt says...

I'm afraid that Mr Windsor has it wrong. Mr Johnston could do what he liked. If Napier had refused to retire it's true that he would have had to put the matter to the Police and Crime Panel but he could ignore any conclusion they came toand sack her anyway. So what would be the point? She couldn't carry on working with a PCC who despised her in any case.
I'm afraid that Mr Windsor has it wrong. Mr Johnston could do what he liked. If Napier had refused to retire it's true that he would have had to put the matter to the Police and Crime Panel but he could ignore any conclusion they came toand sack her anyway. So what would be the point? She couldn't carry on working with a PCC who despised her in any case. Frankfurt

9:53pm Mon 30 Dec 13

varteg1 says...

Didn't fancy the idea of an 'amateur having sway over accomplished professionals anyway, it smacks of the old Tory notion that gifted amateurs can beat the pro's. Had that attitude remained as the method of progress, we would still be having kids up chimneys and pregnant women shoving coal trams underground.'
I feel the public, by staying away from the 'election' of these PCC's showed a high degree of perspicacity, and wherever these elections were held, the results almost invariably showed the disdain for the idea, Few actually turned out in most places, in Newport in one ward not a single vote was cast.

That sort of turnout, not totally replicated across the whole of Britain, was, as I see it, enough to tell the government to stop digging when in a hole of it's own making.

But when I hear the comments from one of the most senior of PROFESSIONALS in the business, my view that these PCC's were an unnecessary addition to the Police establishment is reinforced,

Napier I am not even taking into consideration in that, other than to say, I feel from all I have heard and read about the affair, her gender was against her from the moment this guy took over his new office.
Didn't fancy the idea of an 'amateur having sway over accomplished professionals anyway, it smacks of the old Tory notion that gifted amateurs can beat the pro's. Had that attitude remained as the method of progress, we would still be having kids up chimneys and pregnant women shoving coal trams underground.' I feel the public, by staying away from the 'election' of these PCC's showed a high degree of perspicacity, and wherever these elections were held, the results almost invariably showed the disdain for the idea, Few actually turned out in most places, in Newport in one ward not a single vote was cast. That sort of turnout, not totally replicated across the whole of Britain, was, as I see it, enough to tell the government to stop digging when in a hole of it's own making. But when I hear the comments from one of the most senior of PROFESSIONALS in the business, my view that these PCC's were an unnecessary addition to the Police establishment is reinforced, Napier I am not even taking into consideration in that, other than to say, I feel from all I have heard and read about the affair, her gender was against her from the moment this guy took over his new office. varteg1

12:00am Tue 31 Dec 13

Frankfurt says...

It was one polling station not one ward but I take your point.
It was one polling station not one ward but I take your point. Frankfurt

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