Police officer found guilty of gross misconduct for trying to rig job interview

The force has released limited details of the private hearing – but some questions remain unanswered

A police officer has been allowed to keep his job despite being found guilty of gross misconduct.

The officer, whose name has not been released by Leicestershire Police, tried to rig an internal job interview by passing questions to a candidate for a civilian role with the force after he received the questions from a colleague.

However, the scheme was uncovered and both officers appeared before a private three-day misconduct hearing last week.

The officer who gave the questions to the candidate was given a final written warning after he was found guilty of gross misconduct, while the case against his colleague was found ‘not proven’.

The hearing was chaired by a legally qualified member of the public who ruled proceedings should be held in private and the participants’ names and ranks not be made public.

This is because both are said to both work in an ‘extremely sensitive’ area of policing.

Instead, they were referred to as Officer A – who was accused of obtaining the questions – and Officer B, who passed them to the candidate.

After the hearing, the force issued the following statement: “An officer has been issued with a final written warning after he was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour.

“Two officers appeared at the three-day misconduct hearing, which started on Monday, September 14.

“Both officers – officer A and officer B – were facing an allegation that between 16 November and 12 December 2018, they breached the standards of professional behaviour; namely honesty and integrity, challenging/reporting improper conduct and discreditable conduct.

“It was alleged that Officer A facilitated Officer B coming into possession of interview questions in relation to an internal police staff role prior to the interview, intending that the questions would be passed onto a staff member who was a candidate for the role.

“This would therefore provide the staff member with an unfair advantage in the process.

“It was alleged Officer B was provided with the interview questions which he then provided to a staff member who was a candidate for the role.

“This would have provided the staff member with an unfair advantage in the process.

“It was also alleged Officer B failed to challenge or report Officer A who provided the interview questions.

“Following the three-day hearing, the case against officer A was found not to be proven.

“The allegations against officer B were found to be proven.

“It was found that gross misconduct had been committed in regards to honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct and that misconduct had been committed in regards to challenging/reporting improper conduct.”

Police misconduct hearings were traditionally held behind closed doors, with their outcomes only rarely reaching the public domain.

However, former Prime Minister Theresa May opened the system to the Press and public in 2014, when she was Home Secretary.

Mrs May also decided that independent legally qualified people should take charge of hearings.

However, the regulations do allow for the hearings to be held in private in certain circumstances, including those case which relate to national security or where criminal proceedings are still to take place or an ongoing investigation may be compromised.

The force statement added: “The legally qualified chair Jayne Salt considered if the hearing could be held in public but directed that anonymity of the officers should be maintained and the hearing would take place in private.

“This decision was made due to the extremely sensitive nature of the work of the officers involved and the fact that the matter of the case has not arisen from public complaint and did not involve an operational policing matter.

“It was concluded the circumstances of the case outweighed the public interest in holding the hearing in public.”

 

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