Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, and Shadow Justice Minister, has welcomed the report of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee into the ‘removal’ of Chief Constables by Police & Crime Commissioners.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has conducted an examination into the ‘dismissal’ of Chief Constables in Avon & Somerset and more particularly, in Gwent, and has produced a hard-hitting report.
The report concludes that the dismissal of Carmel Napier, the Gwent Chief Constable, was “unsubstantiated by any concrete examples”. It also states that Ian Johnston, the Gwent PCC, had a “disdainful attitude towards scrutiny by Parliament” and “a clear over-sensitivity to criticism”.
Given that the Gwent Police & Crime Panel had no knowledge of Mr Johnston’s intention to remove the Chief Constable - in the words of the report, he had “managed to side-step the statutory arrangements for local scrutiny” - the report concludes that the “checks and balances on Police and Crime Commissioners are too weak”.
In response to the report, Mr David said,“This report is scathing. It believes that Ian Johnston decided that the Chief Constable had to go, even though he had produced little if any evidence to justify his actions. It is also very critical of Mr Johnston’s own attitude to accountability. As he has taken his actions according to the letter of the law, it begs the question whether the law itself needs to be changed. Indeed, this report brings into question whether we should have PCCs in the first place”.