December 12, 2022 3.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Lincolnshire PCC cleared by IOPC investigation into chief constable recruitment

He said “I am not surprised, but I am satisfied” by the outcome

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Comissioner Marc Jones was cleared by an investigation from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into allegations relating to the appointment of the chief constable.

The Lincolnshire PCC picked Paul Gibson as his preferred candidate in September 2020 for the job advertised at around £143,000 per year.

However, the chosen replacement was blocked by “issues relating to the probable disclosure of candidates’ information to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel,” which was meant to approve the new chief.

Mr Jones denied any wrongdoing and said, at the time, that after taking legal advice it became clear that it would be complicated, costly and potentially lengthy to address, so he withdrew his notation and restarted the process. Chris Haward was later selected as Bill Skelly’s successor as the new Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police.

The IOPC’s investigation began in November 2021 and was finalised in October this year. It examined whether the PCC followed relevant recruitment policies and procedures, as well as the accuracy of public statements issued by him, and if any concerns relating to these actions could constitute Misconduct in Public Office.

The IOPC has now completed its investigation “into the actions and decisions” made by the Lincolnshire PCC during the recruitment process of a new chief constable in 2020. This followed conduct referrals in June and October last year from the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel (PCP).

Paul Gibson was a candidate for Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable.

David Ford, IOPC Regional Director, said: “Having carefully reviewed the evidence gathered during our investigation, in my view it does not indicate that a criminal offence may have been committed.

“I therefore concluded that it is not appropriate for the matter to be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, to determine whether or not any charges should be brought.

“We are now preparing to publish our investigation report and to that end representations have been sought from the PCP. Representations will also be sought from other parties involved in this case.”

After the conclusion of the investigation, Marc Jones said in a statement to The Lincolnite: “I am not surprised, but am satisfied, I have been cleared by this investigation.

“I was clear from the outset, and there was no doubt in my mind, that I have always and will continue to act in the interest of the public of Lincolnshire.”

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