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Tuesday, 21 April, 1998, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Police board tells chief to go
Dr Ian Oliver listens as the Grampian police board debates his future
Grampian Police Board has called for the immediate resignation of its Chief Constable, Dr Ian Oliver, at an emergency meeting following a damning report into the force.

On Monday Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar demanded Dr Oliver "pack his bags and go" and said he hoped the Grampian board would dismiss him.

donald dewar
Dewar: told Oliver to pack his bags
The unanimous call for Dr Oliver's resignation was led by board member, councillor Duncan Crawford, himself a former police officer.

Mr Crawford said: "I move that this board has no longer confidence in the chief constable and would call for his immediate resignation from the force."

The move was seconded by the board chairman, councillor Patrick Chalmers.

The board also accepted the recommendations of the highly-critical report carried out by police investigator Graham Power.

Dr Oliver, his deputy David Beattie and assistant Peter Wilson were then asked to leave the meeting, which went into private session.

The move follows the independent report on the Grampian force's handling of an investigation into the murder of nine-year-old Scott Simpson by convicted paedophile Steven Leisk last July.

Before the meeting, Dr Oliver has refused to quit and said he wanted "the totally unjustified denigration" of Grampian police to stop.

He justified his own stance saying: "I am not dragging anything out. The whole matter will be dealt with according to procedures."

Dr Oliver has already severely criticised the report which looked into how his constabulary handled an investigation into the murder. He said it presented "no evidence, whatever, of corporate failure".

Instead, Dr Oliver accused it of using "emotive and harsh vocabulary which at times borders on intemperate".

The report focused on the way in which the force handled Scott Simpson's disappearance. Initially, it was treated as little more than a missing person inquiry, and when Scott's body was eventually found after five days, it was in an area already searched by police.

The process of removing Dr Oliver could be involved and lengthy but academics say the law has got the balance right.

Prof Robert Reiner of the London School of Economics told the One O'Clock News: "You want to protect the independence of the police from arbitrary pressure being brought to bear by political authorities. But at the same time they have to be accountable for how they manage their resources.

"The fact that there's a cumbersome set of procedures is the right way to deal with this."

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BBC Scotland correspondent Andrew Cassell says Dr Oliver could be forced to resign
BBC News
Prof Robert Reiner of the London School of Economics: "Police have to be accountable"
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