Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly and Shadow Justice Minister, has expressed his “deep concern” at the actions of Gwent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ian Johnston, in delivering an ‘ultimatum’ to Gwent’s Chief Constable.
Responding to documents obtained by the South Wales Argus, Mr David said, “The actions of Gwent’s PCC are totally unacceptable. In telling the Chief Constable that she could either ‘retire or be removed’ is tantamount to bullying of the worst kind. If Mr Johnston had ‘concerns’ about Mrs Napier, then he should have followed accepted employment procedures rather than act as a dictator.
“When the legislation for PCCs was passing through Parliament, Labour expressed its concern about the potential conflicts which could arise between a PCC and a Chief Constable. Sadly, the developments in Gwent have realised our fears. It is an extremely worrying situation where a PCC is interfering in operational police matters, and when he doesn’t get his way, gets rid of the Chief Constable. It is a profound weakness in the legislation that a PCC can apparently do this.
“The deplorable actions of Gwent’s PCC, Ian Johnston, puts a large question mark over the future of Police and Crime Commissioners. If Labour wins power it will examine whether or not PCCs should continue. What has happened in Gwent does not give me much encouragement that PCCs are a useful addition to policing.”