Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan inquiry over officers' names given to paper

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan Image copyright PA
Image caption Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan is being investigated over a possible data protection breach

A police chief is being investigated after he gave names of officers facing criminal charges to a newspaper.

The complaint claims Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Nick Gargan broke data protection laws in 2013 by handing the names to the Bristol Post.

Mr Gargan is also facing a separate gross misconduct probe into a complaint over his behaviour towards female staff - which he denies.

That probe also includes another charge over data protection disclosure.

Mr Gargan was suspended on full pay in May and has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the claims he behaved inappropriately around female workers.

The inquiry into the release of the officers' names is being carried out by Dyfed Powys police at the request of the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to ensure "a transparent and fair process".

In a statement, she said this separate ongoing process is being carried out independent of the IPCC and will report "in due course".

It comes after a complaint made following a front page story by the Bristol Post in September 2013.

A Freedom of Information request from the newspaper asked for details of officer misconduct and how they were disciplined over the past three years.

Initially, the force refused to name the officers involved but Mr Gargan sent the names to the paper citing his desire to promote a culture of openness.

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