Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes is cleared of any misconduct following review
Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes was today cleared of any wrong-doing following an independent review into his conduct.
An investigation was ordered after Mr Rhodes was controversially suspended from duty on February 25 by Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.
It was alleged temporary chief Mr Rhodes mishandled a colleague's racial discrimination employment tribunal claim against West Yorkshire Police.
The chief returned to work after the High Court in Manchester quashed his suspension at a hearing on March 28, which cost the taxpayer £50,000.
Get hi lites or low lites and a cut & blowdry with Hannah or Daniel between 10th and 14th December for only £40.00 please contact the salon for more details, just let us know its with this voucher.
Terms: terms and conditions apply and limited spaces
Contact: 01522 305178
Valid until: Saturday, December 14 2013
The Independent Police Complaints Commission had previously sent the matter back to Mr Hardwick after finding no serious corruption or misconduct, but said that the matter required investigation.
Mr Hardwick, elected to the £65,000-a-year role last November, asked Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy to probe a conduct allegation about Mr Rhodes.
Sir Peter’s report has concluded that no proof has been found to substantiate the allegation and he recommends the misconduct allegation against Mr Rhodes be formally withdrawn.
The investigation team concluded that Mr Rhodes did not exceed the intended boundaries or scope of a Chief Police Officers Staff Association “friend”, as he properly understood them, while representing lawyer Afzal Hussain in his fight against dismissal from the West Yorkshire force after 17 years’ service them.
Mr Hardwick stepped in after Mr Rhodes phoned Fraser Sampson, head of West Yorkshire police authority, to try to get the various parties around the table.
Mr Sampson had written to Mr Hardwick claiming Mr Rhodes acted improperly by backing the claim despite allegedly knowing it to be unfounded.
Mr Rhodes argued he did not know enough about the case to have an opinion on it and insisted he was merely seeking to broker talks.
Sir Peter recommends a written protocol and clear definition of the role of CPOSA friends in employment grievance and other similar cases to help clarify the rules over without prejudice conversations, appropriate negotiating channels and conflicts of interest.
Mr Hardwick said: “I wish to express my thanks to Sir Peter for a thorough investigation. His recommendations are the right ones. I am pleased that we are able to bring what has been an unwanted and unwelcome distraction for the chief constable and me to a conclusion.
“We will both now be able to continue to focus fully on the business of policing Lincolnshire. I also want to express my thanks to Chief Constable Rhodes for the professionalism he has displayed throughout what has been a difficult period. I look forward to continuing our successful working relationship.
“Elsewhere in the public service we have seen what happens when investigations are not carried out. In this case, the allegation was so serious that Sir Peter confirmed in his severity assessment it would have amounted to misconduct if proven. I therefore had no choice but to investigate it.
"I remain troubled by the nature of the allegation and that it has not been possible for the investigating officer to determine exactly what happened in a private conversation between two highly regarded and credible professionals in the policing world.
"This was exacerbated by significant inconsistencies in the evidence.
“On Sir Peter’s final recommendation, there are issues of national concern here. It is absolutely right that there needs to be clarity around what police officers can and cannot do in circumstances such as those that formed the basis of this allegation.
“This has to be right for the officers involved and also for the public. Much has been said of late about standards in the police service, notably by the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
“The College of Policing are, at the request of the Home Secretary, carrying out welcome work to develop a single code of ethics for the service and I hope this will helpfully inform a clear definition of the role of CPOSA friend.
“ I am also pleased to announce that the College will be conducting on my behalf an open, fair and transparent recruitment process for a permanent chief constable for Lincolnshire. I have made it clear to Mr Rhodes that I would welcome his participation in that process.”
Mr Rhodes has issued this statement: "I have been handed a copy of Sir Peter Fahy’s report by the Policing and Crime Commissioner.
"I am very grateful to Sir Peter for a thorough and comprehensive investigation and I'm naturally delighted that I have been completely exonerated in relation to all aspects of the conduct allegation.
"I have sought over the last six months to maintain a dignified silence, safe in the knowledge that I knew that there was never any substance in the spurious allegation.
"I do not intend to depart from this approach, and wish simply to get on with my job of working with the commissioner to provide effective and improving policing for our county of Lincolnshire.
"When the commissioner decides to recruit a permanent chief constable I can confirm that it is my intention to apply for the position.
"The past few months have been unusually challenging. I’ve been really grateful for the incredible support of my wife, our children and my close friends.
"The family that is Lincolnshire Police have been really strong in their encouragement and support.
"If I was surprised by the support of the professional community across the county who work with the police, I was simply humbled by the many, many messages I received, and continue to receive, from ordinary members of the public who I have never met. I just can’t thank all of you enough. It inspires me to work harder for you all.
"Following the Judicial review decision, the commissioner and I resolved that we must draw a line beneath this matter, for the good of Lincolnshire, and demonstrate that we could work together productively and positively.
"In the months since then, together, we have delivered really strong policing performance, well ahead of the national trend reductions in crime, balanced the financial budgets forthe next two years in very challenging circumstances — and made sure we can sustain 1100 police officers across the county. We continue to work closely and comfortably together.
"We now take the fight for a fair share of police funding to Westminster, where in the year ahead we will be working hard together to persuade government that this innovative, progressive force represents a benchmark for good practice and needs to be properly supported.
"I’m at my desk for the rest of this week, and then I’m away for a family break on the south coast.
"The commissioner and have a number of ‘meet the public’ events across the county in future weeks, and a recruitment drive.
"We will be shortly taking a roadshow around the county as part of our recruitment of 40 officers to sustain our numbers. And, that is really good news.
"Over recent years we have worked hard to develop a real pool of talent at senior management level.
"We’ve just seen Alec Wood promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in Cambridgeshire Police.
"That’s really good news for Alec. ACC Keith Smy, a very experienced officer, now steps into the deputy’s role alongside me and Chief Superintendent Lee Freeman, currently in charge of the western side of the county takes on the assistant chief constable role for local policing.
"With Heather Roach as ACC for Operations and Crime, I’m well supported and really confident in the skills and abilities of my senior team, who are firmly grounded and experienced in the needs of this county.”