THE Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary has been suspended following allegations he acted inappropriately towards female staff.

Nick Gargan has been suspended from his job after a number of serious allegations came to light.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will now be carried out.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said in a statement this afternoon: "Following a number of serious allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards female officers and staff by the Chief Constable Nick Gargan, I have decided to refer the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who will now conduct an independent investigation.

"Due to the public interest in the case and to protect the integrity of the investigation I have decided to suspend the Chief Constable while the independent investigation is carried out.”

She added: “Deputy Chief Constable John Long will act up temporarily as Chief Constable and all officers and staff have been informed of this decision.
"I would like to assure the communities of Avon and Somerset that the Constabulary remains a high performing force. Both police officers and staff are committed to ensuring the area remains a safe place to live, work and visit."

Just hours before the announcement, prominent Twitter user Mr Gargan had tweeted a message asking his 9,000 followers who should be invited as special guests to a police open day on June 15.

Selected by Ms Mountstevens in January last year, he took up his role at the force from the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in March 2013.

During his tenure Mr Gargan has been forced to defend the reputation of Bristol after the brutal case of murdered Bijan Ebrahimi who was mistaken for a paedophile. He has commended the efforts of the force during the Somerset Levels flooding earlier this year and last month hit out at politicians who condemned police leadership.

The 47-year-old started his policing career in 1988 with Leicestershire Constabulary. Following a range of uniform and detective roles he was seconded to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, based at the London bureau of Interpol and then the British Embassy in Paris, where he worked on the high profile investigation into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.

On his return he took on a variety of roles before transferring to Thames Valley Police in 2006 as Assistant Chief Constable. In 2010 he moved to the NPIA.

He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list.