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Bristol MP says call for Gargan to resign is 'witch hunt'

Charlotte Leslie is the MP for Bristol North West. She has criticised the calls for Nick Gargan to resign. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Another MP has condemned the process that's led to Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan being asked to resign.

Mr Gargan was told to step down after an independent panel found him guilty of eight counts of misconduct. But Charlotte Leslie has joined fellow MP Ian Liddell-Grainger in saying the process smacks of "a witch hunt devoid of real facts".

Nick Gargan was found guilty of eight charges of misconduct, though not of the gross misconduct charges he originally faced. Credit: PA

Police hunt for thief of charity box from pizza shop

A man ordered two pizzas, then stole a charity donation box from the counter. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Police want to speak to a man about the theft of a charity donation box from a Domino's Pizza in Bristol.

A man ordered two pizzas, then stole a charity box from the counter of the pizza shop in the Fishponds area of the city last month.

Staff ran after him but he managed to escape.

Anyone with information should call PC Lydia Richards at Trinity Road police station via 101.

Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

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Teenager sexually assaulted at Balloon Fiesta

Police are appealing for witnesses at the Balloon Fiesta. Credit: ITV West Country / Laura Heads

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted as she left the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

The victim told police that she was touched inappropriately by a man at around 10.30pm on Saturday 8th August.

Avon and Somerset Police have released a description of the man in question and are asking the public to come forward with information.

He’s described as white, between 25-30 years old, average build with short black hair and a stubbly beard.

He had a silver nose stud and a scar on the knuckles of his left hand. He also spoke with a foreign accent, possibly French.

A map of the area where the sexual assault was reported to have taken place. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Nick Gargan 'deeply sorry' for misconduct, after order to resign

A spokesman said Nick Gargan is Credit: PA

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Nick Gargan is "deeply sorry" for the "flawed judgement" and "ill-advised" behaviour that led to being found guilty of eight charges of misconduct, the Chief Police Officers Staff Association has said.

He has been asked to resign by the area's Police and Crime Commissioner, with his superintendents voting overwhelmingly against him.

A CPOSA spokesman said it was a "huge disappointment" that he had been asked to resign - and said the embattled chief constable's first priority on returning to the force would be to rebuild confidence in the force and in him as leader.

"Chief Constable Gargan is deeply sorry for these and is committed to learning from them.

“We note and respect the views of certain groups of current and retired staff. We share their regret that the good name of the constabulary has been tarnished.

"But the overwhelming majority of the rumours surrounding the chief constable have turned out not to be true; indeed none of the initial allegations that prompted his suspension led to a misconduct finding, let alone a finding of gross misconduct or criminal behaviour. He welcomes publication of the panel's report."

– Chief Police Officers Staff Association spokesman

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said today that he had "let down" his colleagues, "abused his position", and had "lost the confidence of local people, police officers and staff".

Bob Constantine's report has more.

Concerns raised over IPCC's handling of Nick Gargan investigation

Today's report by an independent misconduct panel has also raised concerns about the IPCC's handling of the Nick Gargan investigation.

Following the Chief Constables suspension in May 2014, the IPCC began an investigation but concluded that there were no grounds for criminal charges.

PCC Sue Mountstevens has issued the following statement:

I believe the IPCC acted with good intentions to protect and support witnesses and not betray the confidence of those that did come forward, but clearly the way they managed the process in this case has caused concern, as any failure to follow the disclosure process could have led to the proceedings being compromised or worse still collapsing.

The disclosure process needs to be reviewed by the IPCC so it is clearer for all concerned in future investigations and I will be writing to the IPCC Chair Dame Anne Owers to request this.

– PCC Sue Mountstevens

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Chief Constable 'let down' colleagues and 'abused' his position

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has begun the process for Chief Constable Nick Gargan to resign.

The PCC used powers under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (section 38), due to a lack of confidence by local people, police officers and staff.

It follows an independent misconduct panel finding Nick Gargan guilty of eight counts of misconduct last month.

Below is the full statement:

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

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 judgement 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.

– Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens
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Resignation decision 'a huge disappointment'

It is a "huge disappointment" that Avon and Somerset Police chief constable Nick Gargan has been asked to resign after being found guilty of misconduct, the Chief Police Officers Staff Association has said.

A spokesman for CPOSA said Mr Gargan was "deeply sorry" and that his first priority on returning to the force would be to rebuild confidence in the force and in him as leader.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Gargan, the spokesman said: "After five months of investigation and a 15 month process, the panel made findings of "flawed judgement" and "ill-advised" behaviour

"Chief Constable Gargan is deeply sorry for these and is committed to learning from them.

“We note and respect the views of certain groups of current and retired staff. We share their regret that the good name of the constabulary has been tarnished.

"But the overwhelming majority of the rumours surrounding the chief constable have turned out not to be true; indeed none of the initial allegations that prompted his suspension led to a misconduct finding, let alone a finding of gross misconduct or criminal behaviour. He welcomes publication of the panel's report."

PCC calls for Chief Constable's resignation

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner has begun the process for Nick Gargan to resign from his post.

Sue Mountstevens has used powers under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (section 38) calling upon the Chief Constable to stand down, due to a lack of confidence by local people, police officers and staff.

The decision follows an independent misconduct panel which found Chief Constable Nick Gargan guilty of eight counts of misconduct last month.

Following today’s announcement Chief Constable Nick Gargan has been suspended.

Reports: Chief Constable will be asked to resign

The Police Federation has said it has no confidence in Mr Gargan. Credit: PA Images

ITV News understands that Avon and Somerset's police chief Nick Gargan has been asked to resign.

An independent panel found Mr Gargan guilty of eight unspecified charges of misconduct and recommended that he should get a final written warning.

However, it's now understood that the Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens will go further and use legal powers to order him to resign.

An official announcement is expected within the hour.

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