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Thursday, February 5, 1998 Published at 11:15 GMT


More time for top police officer

Scotland's longest-serving chief constable has been given more time to consider his future after allegations that he has had an affair with a married woman, conducted during police time.

Dr Ian Oliver, the high-profile officer in charge of Grampian Police, will not now make a resolve the situation before the weekend.

It had originally been predicted that he would give his decision by lunchtime on Thursday.

After speaking to Dr Oliver, the Chairman of Grampian's Joint Police Board, Councillor Jurgen Thomaneck, said: "He is unable at this stage to draw a conclusion to his deliberations for two reasons.

"He has so far not got sufficient advice and he has been unable to talk to all members of his family."

He said that he was trying to convene a special meeting of the Joint Police Board for next Thursday, adding: "That meets with the full approval of the Chief Constable."

Newspaper allegations

Dr Oliver, 58, was captured on video kissing and embracing Sonya Cordiner, 26, the wife of a millionaire garage director, as his force was searching for a missing 11-year-old boy.

The ultimatum was delivered at a meeting on Wednesday with the Grampian Police Board Chairman, Councillor Jurgen Thomaneck.

Jurgen Thomaneck is questioned by reporters (0'-19")
Afterwards, Mr Thomaneck said they had dicussed "the various possibilities from resignation to retirement." He added: "There was never any question of discussing the question of whether he should stay."

He would become the first chief constable in Scotland to be sacked.

Affair denied

However, Mrs Cordiner has denied the affair. She and her husband Neil have issued a statement, saying that the newspaper had "mischaracterised" the true nature of her meetings with Dr Oliver.

Mrs Cordiner, a mother of two, attends the same evangelical church in an affluent part of Aberdeen as the chief constable and his wife of 34 years.

The is the second time in a matter of weeks that Dr Oliver has found himself in the public spotlight.

Last month he was criticised by Scottish Home Affairs Minister Henry McLeish for being at a police conference overseas on the day of a publication of a social work report concerning the murder of another schoolboy, Scott Simpson.

In the spotlight

[ image: Grampian Police are based in Aberdeen]
Grampian Police are based in Aberdeen
Dr Oliver has never been far from the headlines:

  • In 1996 he protested to Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew after his name was dropped from the short-list for the post of Royal Ulster Constabulary Chief Constable.

  • He has described drugs as "the greatest evil facing society" and was said to be among the front-runners for the government's "drugs czar" post

  • Three years ago he became the first police chief in the UK to introduce random drug tests for his officers and civilian staff and he has urged business leaders to follow his lead

  • He volunteered Grampian to trial the use of CS spray in Scotland.

    'Dr Who?'

    Mr Oliver was born in Middlesex and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1961. He holds a Phd in public administration from Strathclyde University and likes to be known by his full academic title of Doctor.

    But critics refer to him as Dr Who because, they say, he is an infrequent visitor to police headquarters in Aberdeen.

    He was appointed a chief superintendent with Northumbria Police in 1977 before becoming Chief Constable of Central Police in 1979 and Grampian in 1990.

    Dr Oliver was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in Her Majesty's 1984 Birthday Honours.

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