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Chief Constable probed over remarks on general election expenses

Published 25/10/2016

Devon and Cornwall's police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez denies any wrongdoing (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Devon and Cornwall's police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez denies any wrongdoing (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

The Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police is being investigated for comments he made about general election expenses.

Shaun Sawyer made the remarks in a BBC interview regarding an investigation into Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.

A member of the public complained about the comments, which are now being investigated by Gloucestershire Police.

Following the investigation, a report will be passed to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) in Devon and Cornwall.

Andrew White, chairman of the OPCC, will determine whether the complaint is upheld and what action is required.

In a statement issued through Devon and Cornwall Police, Mr Sawyer said: "I am aware that the OPCC has received a complaint from a member of the public concerning comments I made in the course of a BBC interview regarding a police investigation into the police and crime commissioner, Alison Hernandez.

"This complaint has been considered by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) and remitted back to the OPCC for resolution.

"I welcome an independent investigation into this complaint and look forward to hearing the outcome in due course."

He denies any wrongdoing but says he will co-operate fully with the investigation.

Ms Hernandez is being investigated over allegations about Conservative Party spending at the general election, when she was the agent to Conservative MP Kevin Foster.

She denies any wrongdoing.

Mr White said: " A complaint has been received about comments made by the Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, during an interview on BBC Spotlight.

"It concerned the ongoing investigation into general election expenses involving police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez.

"The police and crime commissioner has a statutory duty to consider complaints about the conduct of the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police."

Mr White said the complaint had been recorded in accordance with guidance issued by the IPCC.

The police watchdog was approached and confirmed the matter should be dealt with by the OPCC.

"I have considered two available options; either to resolve by way of local resolution or by commissioning an investigation," Mr White added.

"In the interests of transparency a decision was taken to adopt the more robust of the two responses by arranging for an investigation into the circumstances by a different police force.

"This is being undertaken independently by the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary. He has agreed to lead the investigation, which is ongoing.

"The investigation will result in an investigation report which will be passed back to me, and I will then determine whether the complaint is upheld, and what, if any, action is required."

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