Police chief asks for extension to contract - despite calls to resign

THE controversial Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police is seeking an extension to his contract despite facing calls for his resignation just three months ago after he admitted a charge of gross misconduct.

Grahame Maxwell only narrowly avoided being sacked in the nepotism row, but has now asked for his term at the force to be extended beyond next May.

Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, who had previously called for Mr Maxwell to resign over the matter, said he would be “gobsmacked and amazed” if North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) agreed to the chief constable’s request.

But a spokesman for Mr Maxwell said the chief constable wanted “to continue the excellent job he’s been doing. He’s invested a lot in North Yorkshire Police in terms of personal commitment and wants the organisation to continue to thrive.”

The length of the requested extension has not been revealed.

NYPA said it would not comment ahead of a meeting of its management board, due to take place yesterday, to discuss Mr Maxwell’s application.

In May, an independent disciplinary panel handed Mr Maxwell a final written warning after he admitted unfairly helping both a relative of former deputy chief constable Adam Briggs and a relative of his own to circumvent a recruitment process for new police officers last spring.

It has previously been revealed the cost of the case to the public purse was £300,000.

Mr Maxell first became a police officer in 1983 and would, therefore, not be entitled to claim a full pension until he has completed 30 years service in 2013. He began a five-year fixed term as North Yorkshire’s Chief Constable in 2007, which is due to end next May.

Mr Smith said: “I really would be gobsmacked – it would be appalling – if they gave the go-ahead to extending his contract when he’s got gross misconduct on his personnel file.

“I would be amazed if the police authority do anything other than reject the application.

“The police authority has a responsibility it does not go ahead on moral grounds and also because a decision on the chief constable should be one taken by the newly-elected police commissioner coming in next May. “They shouldn’t have their hands tied now.”

Police authorities are due to be disbanded in favour of elected commissioners under legislation currently going through Parliament.

Mr Smith also said he would be writing to NYPA to press for transparency over Mr Maxwell’s contractual and pension arrangements.

In June, Mr Maxwell apologised “unreservedly” for what had happened and said he had the full support of the police authority. He added that he wanted to “draw a line in the sand” over the affair.