Chief constable faces inquiry over evidence at inspector's tribunal

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The Independent Online
THE Chief Constable of Lincolnshire is being investigated by a neighbouring force over allegations in his evidence to an industrial tribunal case brought by a female inspector.

Leicestershire police have been brought in to investigate allegations made against Peter Bensley, who is due to retire this month.

Mr Bensley was criticised earlier this year by an industrial tribunal panel which said he had supported a "witch-hunt" carried out by his own male officers against Inspector Cydena Fleming.

Insp Fleming was suspended two-and-a-half years ago by after she secretly taped colleagues at Gainsborough police station to prove that she was being harassed.

In February an industrial tribunal found the force guilty of victimisation over the allegations contained in a 96-page report and ruled that the force should drop them.

Insp Fleming was reinstated and cleared of all disciplinary charges and is currently negotiating her compensation, which is expected to be substantial.

It is understood that the investigation will centre on allegations relating to evidence given under oath by Mr Bensley to the tribunal.

The subsequent report was critical of many witnesses saying they had "failed to tell the truth" and it also criticised Mr Bensley, who is also chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' complaints and discipline committee, for a "deplorable" attitude to equal opportunities.

The Police Complaints Authority yesterday confirmed it was supervising the investigation headed by David Wyrko, Leicestershire's Chief Constable.

"There has been a complaint and the matter has been raised by Lincolnshire Police Authority," he said.

"The PCA's deputy chairman John Cartwright will be supervising the investigation."

A spokesman for Lincolnshire police said no one was available to comment on the matter.

It is the third such police investigation directed against the Lincolnshire force.

Previously Nottinghamshire and Humberside police have been called in to investigate allegations of corruption in the force.

Insp Fleming, who transferred to the Humberside force following her victory, is due to hear the level of compensation she will receive when she returns to the tribunal in June.

The panel sat through more than 300 hours of evidence over almost a year detailing how the 40-year-old officer and mother of two was the victim of a "whispering campaign" engineered by male officers who were jealous of her rapid rise through the ranks.

The tribunal heard that one sergeant made a pass at her and then turned on her when she spurned his attentions. Another, whom she marked down in an appraisal, turned against her and received backing from his colleagues who joined in a "crusade" against her.

The tribunal ruling said: "It is hard to believe they would have done it had she been a male inspector. At the time it was seen as a crusade.

"The most likely explanation for their actions is not merely a problem of personality, but that had she been a male inspector she would not have suffered this way."