EXCLUSIVE: The new Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police will be Nick Gargan
THE new Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police will be Nick Gargan.
The current chief executive and Chief Constable of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) will take charge of the force on March 1, unless his appointment is vetoed by the regional Police and Crime Panel (PCP) when they meet him for the first time on Wednesday.
Mr Gargan replaces Colin Port, who led Avon and Somerset for eight years and is retiring when his contract expires on January 26.
The 46-year-old was selected by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens last night, following a challenging interview process in front of a panel of five.
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The Post understands Mr Gargan will be paid a basic salary of £148,159 per year and will be in charge of more than 5,000 police officers and staff.
He joined the NPIA in January 2010 and was previously the Assistant Chief Constable for Crime and Criminal Justice at Thames Valley Police where he worked from 2006.
Prior to that, he was a Chief Superintendent with Leicestershire Constabulary where he had served since joining the police service in 1988.
In the mid 1990s he was seconded to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, based initially in London and later in France.
He took charge of the British investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In 2007, he gave evidence at the inquest after acting as an intermediary between domestic and French detectives while working as a police liaison officer based at the British Embassy in Paris.
Mr Gargan, who also has extensive experience as a detective, has been a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) since April 2006 and has been involved, on behalf of ACPO, with work around covert investigation since 2003.
From 2007 to 2010 he was the ACPO lead for intelligence and is a member of ACPO Crime Business Area.
He is an avid supporter of Leicester City football club, where he is a season ticket holder.
Over the past two days, four candidates have had their credentials sternly tested by Ms Mountstevens, who enlisted the help of her office's chief executive, John Smith; the region's chief crown prosecutor, Barry Hughes; retired Avon and Somerset Detective Superintendent Steve Livings and independent human resources expert Sue Lee.
The process included a presentation, questions from the panel, psychometric tests and a mock media scenario to see how they react in the public spotlight.
Mr Gargan was offered the job after much deliberation last night and will be presented to the PCP in Clevedon next Wednesday afternoon.
That new panel, which scrutinises the commissioner's major decisions, is made up of 15 councillors from all the local authorities in the region plus three independent members. If two-thirds of the panel vote against Mr Gargan's appointment, he will not get the job.
Current Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley will be acting chief when Mr Port, 58, retires later this month.
Last Tuesday, he was unsuccessful in his High Court bid to delay the appointment process.
He claimed Ms Mountstevens had acted "unlawfully" when she told him in November that he would have to re-apply for his own job when his one-year contract expires. Mr Port said he had no intention to do so, but later tried to extend his tenure by stopping last week's interviews and getting six months' notice.
Both claims were rejected by Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, although Mr Port is considering an appeal.