Lincolnshire PCC investigated over chief constable recruitment process
The police and crime commissioner (PCC) of Lincolnshire is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the recruitment of a new chief constable in late 2020.
Marc Jones, who is also the current chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, put forward Paul Gibson in September 2020 as his preferred candidate to lead the force but withdrew his nomination amid issues with the process.
The appointment is understood to have been blocked due to “issues relating to the probable disclosure of candidates’ information” to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, which was meant to approve the choice.
At the time Mr Jones said that, after taking legal advice, it became clear that it would be complicated, costly and potentially lengthy to address, so he withdrew his nomination and restarted the process.
The IOPC is understood to be investigating allegations of misconduct in public office, whether the relevant recruitment policies and procedures were followed and the accuracy of statements made by Mr Jones. The referral is understood to have come from members of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel.
The opening of an IOPC investigation does not mean that any criminal charge will necessarily follow.
Mr Jones said: ” I have recently been provided with information about a referral to the IOPC regarding a 12-month-old recruitment process for a new chief constable for Lincolnshire – a process that did not actually conclude.
“I want to state that, whilst I will work fully with the IOPC as they look into the matter, I am clear in my mind that there has been no wrongdoing and expect any inquiries to conclude the same.
“It is right that a system is in place to ensure decisions are taken correctly and in the public interest. However, due to the pressures placed upon the IOPC by their workload I expect it to be almost a year from now before this matter is closed, which is less than ideal.
“My focus remains, as ever, on ensuring our communities get the policing service they deserve and that we are striving to make Lincolnshire feel and be safer for all.”
The allegations do not relate to the recruitment of the current chief constable Chris Haward, who took over the role in December 2020, the IOPC added.