Allegation against Cambridgeshire PCC is of a ‘criminal nature’

The allegation that led to the sudden resignation of Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Jason Ablewhite is of a “criminal nature” and relates to an exchange of messages over social media, it has emerged.

Nov 12, 2019
By Tony Thompson

Mr Ablewhite resigned yesterday (November 11) after an allegation about his conduct was made by a member of the public and then referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

A spokesperson for the IOPC said that prior to the complaint Mr Ablewhite had “exchanged a series of messages” with the member of the public on social media.

According to the Peterborough Telegraph, a letter sent by Dorothy Gregson, chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, to members of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel reveals that the allegation had been assessed as being potentially criminal.

The newspaper states that part of the letter, which was sent to the local democracy service by its chair Edward Leigh, read: “On the November 6, 2019, [Dorothy Gregson] received communication from Cambridgeshire Constabulary in relation to an allegation regarding the commissioner, which they had assessed to be of a criminal nature. It is on that basis that later the same day I formally notified the IOPC of a referral in respect of the commissioner.

“In accordance with the panel’s complaint procedure, I am referring this matter to the panel to record as a complaint under The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012 in respect of the commissioner. As set out in the panel’s complaint procedure, as I am satisfied that the subject matter of the complaint is being dealt with by means of criminal proceedings. I have not enclosed details of the referral.”

Mr Leigh said the potential for the allegation to be of a criminal nature is the reason the complaint has been passed straight to the IOPC.

The police and crime panel will meet before the end of this month to appoint an acting PCC for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as the role does not automatically fall to the current deputy, Ray Bisby.

In an IOPC statement issued yesterday, it said: “The IOPC has started an independent investigation following a referral about a public complaint into the conduct of the PCC for Cambridgeshire.”

The Office of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough PCC said it would be inappropriate to make any additional comment.

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