First chief constable casualty of PCC era

By Charles Maggs

Avon and Somerset constabulary has seen the first public spat between a police chief constable and the newly elected police & crime commissioner, leading to the resignation of Chief Constable Colin Port.

His decision to quit came after the independent PCC Sue Mountstevens made it clear that he would have to re-apply for his job when his current term of employment ends in January next year.

The dispute only became public after Mountstevens had paid tribute to Port, who announced he was going to retire in January.

"Avon and Somerset's chief constable Colin Port has made great improvements for this area," she said.

"He has increased detection rates and reduced crime. He will be greatly missed by staff and partners I know that he will continue to do great things and I wish him every success for the future."

But her kind words were not well received by Port who replied shortly after, suggesting that there had been a falling-out between the two.

"Yesterday I had a meeting with the police and crime commissioner. She told me she intends to start the process to recruit a chief constable to take Avon and Somerset forward," he said.

"I told her I had no intention of applying for my job."

Mountstevens was a magistrate and business woman before her election victory last Thursday with a promise to "keep politics out of policing", but she is clearly not afraid of flexing her newfound political muscle.

This is not the first time a police chief constable has been forced to resign by a locally elected official. Sir Ian Blair had to resign as commissioner at the Metropolitan police after Boris Johnson made it clear he had no confidence in him back in 2008.