THE Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police will not face a criminal inquiry as a result of allegations he made ‘inappropriate advances’ to female colleagues.
Nick Gargan was suspended from the constabulary on full pay in May and faces gross misconduct charges and losing his job if an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation upholds the complaints.
Mr Gargan, 47, has this week been told he will not face a criminal inquiry.
A statement issued by the Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA) on his behalf said: "The only further contact he has had from the Independent Police Complaints Commission since his suspension on May 13 has been an updated notice of investigation.
"The effect of this notice was to clarify that the behaviour under investigation is not as serious as originally thought in as much as this is no longer being investigated as a criminal matter."
It said Mr Gargan, who denies all the allegations, had still not seen the detail of any accusations against him but was aware the IPCC would interview him.
The CPOSA statement said Mr Gargan welcomed the news the matter would not be investigated as a criminal one and ‘looked forward to the opportunity to hear the allegations and help advance the investigation through an interview’.
More than 50 people have now been interviewed by IPCC investigators.
An IPCC spokeswoman said: "The IPCC investigation into the conduct of Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan is continuing.
"The investigation centres on allegations that he abused his senior position by making inappropriate advances to more junior female members of staff over a period of time. The allegations were originally raised by two members of staff.
"More than 50 individuals from Avon and Somerset Constabulary have provided information and intelligence to the IPCC and have been spoken to by our investigators.
"Mr Gargan has been served with a gross misconduct notice and we would anticipate that he will be interviewed by investigators once the information we have gathered has been analysed."
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mounstevens commented: "The IPCC have informed me that they are no longer looking at criminal charges against the chief constable and the investigation continues."
In a previous statement, she said: “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."
Mr Gargan, who lives in Redland, Bristol, took over at Avon and Somerset in March 2013 when he was appointed by Ms Mountstevens.
He 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.