Panel chairman to quit after criticism

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The chairman of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel is to quit after his handling of Chief Constable Neil Rhodes’ suspension was slammed by MPs.

Coun Ray Wootton confirmed his intention to stand down in a statement on Thursday when he also apologised to a parliamentary select committee for giving a “misleading impression” during a hearing on Tuesday.

MPs on the Home Office Select Committee asked Coun Wootton why it took 72 days to hold a panel meeting after Mr Rhodes’ suspension by Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick on February 25th.

Coun Wootton said: “I was given advice that it was not desirable to hold a meeting to discuss the suspension of the acting Chief Constable whilst various legal and HR issues were still under investigation, for example the Sir Peter Fahy investigation which is still ongoing.

“However, I did decide to hold a meeting on May 9th to appoint a task and finish group which will start work once the Sir Peter Fahy report is completed.

“I am very sorry that this misleading impression was given and that I did not explain the situation clearly enough.

“I will be standing down as chairman of the Police and Crime Panel at the annual general meeting in June.”