Earlier this month Hampshire’s Chief Constable Andy Marsh announced that he would be leaving Hampshire for Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
An interesting move and an even more interesting “timing”.
Andy Marsh was appointed by Police & Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes and during the last three years both have been subject to a staggering number of complaints as many claim Simon Hayes put the protection of his Chief Constable before protecting members of the public.
Both have been accused publicly of covering up many crimes during their tenure including the Stanbridge Earls School child abuse scandal, other child abuse crimes, the criminal activities of their own personal friends and political colleagues as well as carrying out a number of political arrests.
So is it a coincidence that Marsh is leaving ahead of the PCC elections in May 2016 which many say Hayes is unlikely to win given the strong Conservative candidate?
Equally should Simon Hayes be allowed to appoint a new Chief Constable ahead of an election he may well lose?
Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hamphire County Council and father of Caroline Nokes MP who was involved in an attack on a constituent, apparently begged Hayes to stand for the Tory Party. Hayes declined, and why would he, by claiming to be independent he could keep a foot on both camps.
Only today, a listing in the High Court shows that Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh is in Court again facing legal action.
But as complaints against Marsh and Hayes continue to pile up with the IPCC and PSD, along with numerous cases of legal action against the beleaguered Chief Constable, does Marsh’s claim that his move is a result of his desire to move back to be closer to his family carry any weight, or has Hampshire Constabulary started to count the financial cost of it’s Chief Constable’s conduct?
The family claim could be true of course, you can’t get much closer to your family than working alongside your wife, who in this case happens to be Nikki Watson, the Assistant Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset.
Surely this alone is a conflict of interest in itself. Whatever happened to impartiality?
If Mr Marsh was so keen to be nearer his family why wait till now? Why take the Chief Constable post in Hampshire in the first place? After all he had been at Hampshire since 2010 as the Deputy Chief Constable. The post of Chief Constable at Avon & Somerset first became available in 2012, so that’s a long delay before applying for the post.
One wonders if Avon & Somerset Constabulary have really thought this one through?
Surely they have already had their fair share of controversial and publicly humiliating appointments. After the Chief Constable Colin Port stepped down a day after the appointment of the PCC http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-20440563, the next Chief Constable was forced to resign after being found guilty of 8 charges of misconduct and an independent panel recommended he receive eight final written warnings. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11935607/Disgraced-Avon-and-Somerset-Chief-Constable-Nick-Gargan-resigns.html
Andy Marsh might be leaving Hampshire, and many will say good riddance, but his baggage will go with him and as a result Avon & Somerset will now be dragged into a number of deeply disturbing allegation as Marsh’s history threatens to taint further the already sullied reputation of Avon & Somerset Constabulary.