THE announcement that an independent review into Gloucestershire Police’s investigation into the Cotswold Water Park scandal is to be conducted has been widely welcomed.

The force came under fire after it was revealed that officers failed to extensively pursue accusations of fraud against former Cotswold Water Park Society boss Dennis Grant.

Grant was sent to prison in July after admitting defrauding the society of more than £600,000.

An independent report will now be conducted into the investigation by an outside police force.

Cotswold District Councillor (CDC) Esmond Jenkins said he had first brought accusations against Grant to Gloucestershire Police in early 2010, but that they did not investigate the claims.

“It is unacceptable that we have a highly professional police force that tells ordinary citizens to go away and behave like Miss Marple rather than acting on their reports of very serious crime,” he said.

“I trust that the outside review will be painstaking and searching.

“If there is any evidence that officers failed to do their duty I hope that the Chief Constable will take appropriate action to restore public confidence in the force.”

CDC leader Lynden Stowe said he hoped the report would be constructive.

“If the police have decided this is the right thing to do then I’m sure that’s the right decision,” he said.

“Hopefully a conclusion can be reached so the Water Park Trust can carry on with their work.”

Gloucestershire Police Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Lambert said the review would provide an impartial perspective on the investigation.

“This was a large and complex enquiry that is clearly in the public interest,” he said.

“Following concerns raised by a member of the public, we have chosen to take this measure in order to offer reassurance and maintain the high level of confidence and trust the community have in their local police service.

“I welcome this development and have made it clear that the constabulary wish to fully co-operate and share issues that we feel may reasonably be examined by another investigative body.”

Cotswold Liberal Democrats leader councillor Paul Hodgkinson said he was also pleased by the announcement.

“The legacy of the Water Park scandal has left a cloud of suspicion and recrimination hanging over the district which needs to be dealt with robustly,” he said.

“Any move to establish what really happened is to be welcomed.”

The force responsible for the report is yet to be named.