England

Married Avon and Somerset police chiefs' roles defended

  • 23 December 2015
  • From the section England
Andy Marsh and wife Nikki Watson Image copyright Avon and Somerset PCC
Image caption PCC Sue Mountstevens said the situation was "not unique in the workplace" and neither Andy Marsh or his wife Nikki "should be discriminated against"

A police and crime commissioner has defended recruiting a married couple as a new police chief and assistant chief.

Andy Marsh was appointed Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset last week but he is married to an assistant chief constable, Nikki Watson.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said a policy would be in place so Mr Marsh will "not be directly line-managing his wife".

The former Hampshire Police chief replaces Nick Gargan, who quit after being found guilty of misconduct.

Mr Marsh, who has taken a pay cut to return to the force, is due to take up office alongside his wife next February.

But Ms Mountstevens said the situation was "not unique in the workplace" and neither Mr Marsh or his wife "should be discriminated against".

"They have both been appointed through separate, independent and open processes," she said.

"The appointments panel and I were unanimously satisfied that a policy could be put in place around reporting lines and discipline matters.

"Mr Marsh will not be directly line managing his wife and if any discipline matters were to arise surrounding his wife these will be dealt with by a Chief Constable of another force."

Avon and Somerset has had four chiefs in the last three years.

Mr Gargan was appointed by Ms Mountstevens in January 2013, after his predecessor Colin Port quit when she asked him to reapply for his job.

Acting chief constable John Long filled in following Mr Gargan's suspension in May 2014.

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