Lincolnshire Police chief’s suspension cost taxpayer over £58,000
The cost to the taxpayer of suspending Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes has risen to more than £58,000 – and is set to increase even further.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick previously said the court case over the suspension cost £37,500.
But the Echo can now reveal his office has also paid £20,671.50 to lawyers Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP for additional legal advice.
Mr Hardwick told the Echo he does not know what the final bill to the taxpayer will be, as the court ordered his office to cover Mr Rhodes’s legal costs - and the bill has not yet arrived.
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@The first estimate of how much Neil Rhodes’s case cost
“At the time when I said the cost of the High Court case was £37,500, I did say the bills were still coming in, which was true, and is still true,” Mr Hardwick said.
“I always anticipated there would be some extra costs – I just did not know what it was. I genuinely do not know how much it will all cost.
“If I knew I would say. As soon as I do know it will appear on my website.
“I am just pleased that the chief constable and I are getting on with the policing of Lincolnshire.”
Mr Hardwick received an allegation that the temporary chief mishandled a colleague’s racial discrimination employment tribunal claim against West Yorkshire Police.
He then suspended Mr Rhodes from the post of acting chief constable on February 26.
But Mr Rhodes returned to work after a High Court judge quashed the decision in March, branding it “perverse” and “irrational” because of “fundamental errors” in Mr Hardwick’s approach.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy was also asked to investigate the matter.
He concluded there was no proof to substantiate the allegation, which he recommended be formally withdrawn.
The commissioner’s website shows Lincoln law firm Andrew and Co Solicitors was initially paid £37,500 for legal services in relation to the case in May and June.
Field Fisher Waterhouse also received £20,671.50 in June.
Howard Hunt, deputy chief executive at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, said: “Field Fisher Waterhouse were engaged after the judicial review process to advise on matters with the ongoing Fahy investigation and matters that came out of review.
“Clearly, if a judgment has been made in court and the judgment goes against you, you want advice about your options going forward.
“One of these was: is there any option to appeal?
“The Fahy investigation was ongoing at that stage so what we were looking for was advice on possible options depending on what Fahy said.
“There were some matters which the judge did not make a judgment on and, potentially, because that might still be the subject of litigation, we wanted some advice on that, relating specifically to stuff under the Human Rights Act.
“The chief constable’s costs were awarded and we have not been billed for them yet. In terms of the costs for Sir Peter Fahy’s time, we have not billed for those yet.”