Colin Banham successfully represented a DCI at a misconduct hearing where the officer faced allegations that he breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Authority, Respect and Courtesy and Equality and Diversity. The officer was alleged to have made sexist and racist comments to junior officers, as well as reducing another officer to tears by his behaviour.
Prior to the hearing, it was submitted that the appropriate authority had not complied with their disclosure duties under Regulation 21 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012, in that relevant documentation concerning the ‘severity assessment’ had not been served.
After disclosure was made, it was clear that the appropriate authority had purported to make no less than three decisions under Regulation 19. The first two severity assessments had concluded that the behaviour of the officer amounted to misconduct only and the officer should be referred to a misconduct meeting. The final, purported severity assessment was only made after a complaint from a senior officer outside of Professional Standards. It concluded that the behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and the officer should be referred to a misconduct hearing. There had been no change in the evidence submitted to the appropriate authority on each occasion.
It was argued that:
The panel found that they did not have the jurisdiction to hear the evidence against the officer and that there was a legitimate expectation held by the officer that he should only be referred to a misconduct meeting.
The case was remitted to be heard as an allegation of misconduct only on a future date at a misconduct meeting.
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