Exclusive: Police chief facing call to resign tries to have contract extended

A CONTROVERSIAL Yorkshire chief constable 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, who leads North Yorkshire Police, only narrowly avoided being sacked for nepotism but has now asked for his term at the force to be extended beyond next May.

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

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But a spokesman for Mr Maxwell said the chief constable wanted “to continue the excellent job he’s been doing.”

NYPA said it would not comment ahead of a meeting of its management board called for next Thursday 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 in the spring of last year.

The chief constable would have been sacked if the gross misconduct admission had retained an initial charge he acted without honesty and integrity but NYPA ultimately decided to accept a plea on the grounds of discreditable conduct only.

NYPA has maintained it was confident of proving a breach of honesty and integrity but accepted the plea on the eve of a planned hearing because of a “small risk” of losing the case, to relieve the stress on junior staff lined-up to give evidence against Mr Maxwell and to save further spending on legal costs. It has previously been revealed the case cost the public purse £300,000.

It is not known how long Mr Maxwell is seeking to extend his contract for. He began a five-year fixed term as North Yorkshire’s chief constable in 2007, which is due to end next May.

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.

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.”

• Full story in Saturday’s Yorkshire Post