New Avon and Somerset Police chief constable Nick Gargan prepares to take charge of force
The new Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset has vowed to push on with slashing crime.
Nick Gargan’s appointment was approved by the regional Police and Crime Panel (PCP) at a meeting in Clevedon yesterday. The chief of the National Policing Improvement Agency will take over from Colin Port, who has led the constabulary for eight years and is retiring when his contract expires on January 26.
Mr Gargan has signed a five-year contract, on a starting salary of more than £148,000 per year, and will take the helm on March 1.
He was selected ahead of three other candidates by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.
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Yesterday, he was presented to the PCP at North Somerset Council’s Castlewood offices. Made up of 15 councillors from the local authorities in the region plus three independents, it scrutinises the commissioner’s major decisions and had the power to veto the appointment.
But it gave unanimous backing and afterwards Mr Gargan said: “It’s just a huge honour and a huge privilege to be able to lead such a terrific police force.” He is not fazed by funding cuts for constabularies that have resulted in the number of officers in the force falling from 3,400 to less than 3,000.
“We will have to find ways of making sure we continue to make progress while preserving the front line.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley will be acting chief after Mr Port retires.