PCC sorry over upset caused by police chief appointment
AN apology has been given by Martin Surl to his scrutiny panel for not telling members that Gloucestershire's new police chief was his top choice for the role.
But the county police and crime commissioner stopped short of saying sorry for not informing the group that Suzette Davenport was being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Mr Surl said he regretted upsetting members of the group who were asked to ratify the decision made by another panel who chose Ms Davenport for the role.
The scrutiny panel were angry that Mr Surl's preferred candidate for the role was circulated in the media before they were told of the decision.
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Serious concerns were also raised by the police and crime panel over the IPCC investigation, relating to allegations of misconduct in her former job.
Speaking on the BBC, Mr Surl acknowledged the panel's stance, but added he found it "quite hard to agree".
Mr Surl said he was aware of the investigation into Ms Davenport as were those involved in the interview process, but it was not discussed during the interview.
He said: "I had an assurance from Ms Davenport that she would be acquitted of this, so I'm not quite sure what their problem is.
"At some point, someone has got to make a decision, and I've made that decision that she is the best candidate for Gloucestershire. I carried out a very fair process and a very open process."
Ms Davenport, 49, will become the first-ever female boss of the force when she takes up the role on February 1.
It was down to Mr Surl, as police and crime commissioner, to select the new chief constable – but the decision then had to be ratified by the police and crime panel.
The scrutiny panel's chairman, Brian Calway, voiced disappointment he had heard about Ms Davenport's selection on the radio.
Mr Surl added: "I understand they are upset by that.
"The first people we told were the officers and staff of the constabulary.
"We then did a press release and we did try to contact members of the police and crime panel unsuccessfully.
"If they are a little upset by that I'm happy to apologise.
"There are many people who think I should have told the public first, because they are the people who elected me, and they are the people who the chief constable will serve.
"But if it's a big deal I'll apologise and we move forward."