Situation between Gwent commissioner and chief may have contributed to lack of applicants, MP says.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent has declined to comment after concerns were raised by an MP that there was only one applicant for the vacant chief constableâ€™s position.
A spokeswoman for the office of Ian Johnston, (pictured), said that the commissioner had nothing to say after Caerphilly MP Wayne David suggested that the situation involving former chief Carmel Napier may have put others off from throwing their hats into the ring.
However, policing analysts have said that â€“ with many chief officers settling into new roles â€“ there is a currently smaller pool of applicants currently looking for ACPO positions.
As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com, Jeff Farrar â€“ who was Mrs Napierâ€™s deputy before she retired and has been the acting chief since â€“ has been named as the preferred candidate for the top position. He was the sole applicant to put himself forward.
Mr Johnston said the interview process, in which Association of Chief Police Officers President Sir Hugh Orde was one of the board members, had been demanding.
His spokeswoman said advice had been sought from the College of Policing during the recruitment exercise. The appointment will now come before the police and crime panel for approval in November.
But in an interview with the BBC, Mr David said it was â€œdisappointingâ€ that there had not been a larger field from which to choose â€“ although he held T/CC Farrar in high regard.
He said that the public fallout between Mr Johnston and Mrs Napier in the summer may have contributed to the lack of interest. The PCC claimed that he had disagreed with some the chiefâ€™s decisions and asked her to retire â€“ or he would begin the process to remove her.
Mrs Napier, who said she was shocked, retired from her position with immediate effect. Both parties were later called before the Home Affairs Select Committee to give their account of events.
Mr David said: â€œI think whatâ€™s happened in Gwent â€“ and inevitably the buck stops with the PCC â€“ is one of the main reasons, probably the primary reason, why there were not more applications.
â€œI would imagine that many aspiring senior police officers in the country have seen what happened in Gwent and thought â€˜right, we are not going to be in that situationâ€™. I was disappointed because I was hoping there would be a wide field and the choice would be made from that field.â€
Jon Collins, Deputy Director of the Police Foundation, however believed that there were fewer candidates currently seeking chief officer appointments in the wake of several vacancies recently being filled.
He also suggested that aspiring chief constables may be less likely to apply for positions in areas where there have were already strong candidates serving in an acting capacity.
But Mr Collins added: â€œIt is inevitable that applicants are also going to look at the who the police and crime commissioner is as well as their police and crime plan before they apply. They are going to want to work with somebody that shares their vision.â€
PCC â€˜may have put offâ€™ chief applicants