Devon & Cornwall PCC survives vote after 'armed civilians' row

Alison Hernandez
Image caption Ms Hernandez said she "does not believe in vigilantism".

A police chief who suggested gun owners might be able to act as armed civilians in a terror attack, has survived a vote of no confidence.

Devon and Cornwall Police warned armed civilians should not tackle terrorists after the comments made by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez on a BBC phone-in in June.

The vote, held by the Police and Crime Panel, the body which scrutinises her, was defeated by eight to two.

Ms Hernandez apologised afterwards.

She said: "The reality is I do not believe in vigilantism. I apologise if anyone felt I had a different view".

The vote was proposed by Plymouth councillor Sam Davey, who described Ms Hernandez's original comments as 'ill-judged" and "rather silly".

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Media captionPolice commissioner Alison Hernandez spoke to BBC Radio Cornwall

A vote of no confidence in Ms Hernandez was passed by Plymouth City Council four days earlier.

She suffered a further blow at the meeting of the Police and Crime Panel on Friday when members refused to appoint her proposed deputy PCC, Mark Kingscote.

Timeline of events

  • 12 June: Alison Hernandez tells BBC Radio Cornwall she will look into the idea of armed civilians acting in the vent of a terrorist attack.
  • 13 June: Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton from Devon and Cornwall Police says it is "definitely an emphatic 'no'" that people should be arming themselves against such a threat.
  • Alison Hernandez releases a statement saying her comments have been misinterpreted.
  • 3 July: Plymouth City Council passes a vote of no confidence in her.
  • 4 July: Ms Hernandez releases a statement saying the result "will not detract her from representing the views of the public".
  • 7 July: At the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel's meeting it refuses to appoint Mark Kingscote as deputy PCC, who had been proposed by Alison Hernandez.
  • The panel holds a vote of no confidence, which is defeated.

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