Wales politics

Gwent Police: David Jones defends PCC sacking rights

The right of police and crime commissioners to sack police chiefs has been defended by the Welsh secretary after Gwent's top officer was forced out.

Gwent commissioner Ian Johnston has confirmed he asked chief constable Carmel Napier to retire or be removed.

David Jones told the Welsh Grand Committee at Westminster he had "high regard" for Mrs Napier.

But he said the commissioner was "best placed to make that judgement".

"He is democratically elected and he will have to account for his actions," Mr Jones told MPs.

Mrs Napier was forced out from Gwent Police after a series of rows with Mr Johnston.

She has fought back by urging the government to consider whether crime commissioners' powers were compromising police independence in operational matters.

Mrs Napier said she was concerned whether the power of PCCs "adequately protects the independence of operating policing in England and Wales".

She called on the UK government to look into the legislation surrounding the elected role, which was brought in by the Conservatives last year amid much opposition from Labour politicians.

MPs in the Gwent Police area have strongly criticised Mr Johnston's behaviour.

Mr Jones stressed that "as an individual" Mrs Napier had "done an excellent job in Gwent".

"However, it has to be the case that the police and crime commissioner is the official who's best placed to make that judgement.

"If his judgement is correct, then he will be applauded. If it is not, then he stands to be criticised.

"He is democratically elected and he will have to account for his actions."

Mr Johnston had criticised Mrs Napier's management style and said the relationship "was never going to work" but he was criticised by MPs.

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