Home Secretary Theresa May dragged into suspension of Lincolnshire Police Chief Neil Rhodes
Home Secretary Theresa May has been dragged into the controversy surrounding the mystery suspension of Lincolnshire's top police officer, it has emerged.
In a letter – seen by the Echo – Mrs May is asked for her view on the "autocratic" decision to remove Neil Rhodes from duty.
New Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick suspended Mr Rhodes on February 26, leaving officers and police unions in the dark about why.
Now, in a letter written by Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, it is alleged Mr Rhodes was told about the decision in a corridor before being escorted from police HQ in Nettleham.
He was then forced to wait seven days before being told of the allegations behind the decision, claims the MP.
Mr McCartney wrote to Mrs May, who is in charge of policing in England and Wales, on Wednesday, March 13, saying: "This situation has caused me much disquiet. I feel this has been a particularly autocratic course of action with unknown motivations.
"Please could you furnish my Lincolnshire colleagues and myself with your own views on, and knowledge of, this suspension. In particular, do you share my concerns at the manner in which this course of action has taken place and the ongoing implications of the PCC's actions?"
Mr Hardwick refused to comment on the circumstances surrounding how Mr Rhodes was informed, but he did say: "If the letter from Karl McCartney to Theresa May is asking the Home Secretary to interfere with the legitimate function of an elected representative of the people, I find it remarkable."
Earlier this week, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would not be investigating Mr Rhodes.
In a statement, it said the case was not serious enough to be looked into. Mr Hardwick has been told to implement the investigation himself.
Annabelle McMillan, a spokesperson for the IPCC, said:
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"The decision to return this matter for local investigation has been communicated to the crime commissioner.
"It will now be for him to determine the way forward. The IPCC has advised that if further concerns come to light in the course of the investigation the matter should be re-referred to us."
Mr Hardwick said: "The decision made by the IPCC not to carry out their own investigation is understandable and in line with previous determinations they have made on chief constable conduct matters.
"I will be conducting my own independent and rigorous local investigation into the potential conduct matters that were raised."
No reason for Mr Rhodes' suspension has been given. Alec Wood has been made his temporary replacement.