Police chief faces gross misconduct hearing

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The Independent Online

A chief constable is to face a hearing for gross misconduct in relation to a recruitment exercise conducted by his force, the police watchdog said today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has concluded its investigation into allegations against North Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and his deputy, Adam Briggs.

The findings from the investigation have been shared with North Yorkshire Police Authority's Police Professional Standards Sub-Committee, which has responded by recommending that the chief constable should attend a hearing for gross misconduct and the deputy chief constable should attend a misconduct meeting.

The IPCC has agreed with those recommendations.

The IPCC said it had also concluded its management of an investigation by North Yorkshire Police's Professional Standards Department into allegations against two members of police staff and a police constable in relation to the same recruitment exercise.

The two members of police staff faced a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct over allegations they had used their position to circumvent the recruitment process for their own gain. Both were dismissed from the force.

The watchdog said the police constable faced a misconduct meeting in relation to an allegation that he assisted police staff under his line management to circumvent the recruitment process. He was issued with a final written warning.

"The IPCC will not be in a position to publish its findings from the investigations until all misconduct matters are concluded," a spokesman added.

North Yorkshire's two most senior police officers are to face disciplinary hearings over claims they cheated a recruitment process.

It is alleged the chief constable and his deputy tried to help relatives get a foot on the career ladder at the first stage of the recruitment process.

It follows an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into job applications for new officers, which hit the headlines when thousands of people tried to phone the force to apply for 60 positions.

Mr Maxwell is thought to be the first UK chief constable in 35 years to face a disciplinary hearing.

He is accused of gross misconduct for which the maximum penalty is dismissal.

His deputy faces a lesser charge of misconduct, with a final warning being a possible punishment if proven.

North Yorkshire Police said all inquiries relating to the chief constable and his deputy should be referred to the IPCC and North Yorkshire Police Authority.

A statement said: "North Yorkshire Police can confirm that two members of police staff have been dismissed following findings of gross misconduct in respect of several breaches of the Police Staff Standards of Professional Behaviour arising from the investigation by North Yorkshire Police Professional Standards Department, managed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), in relation to certain aspects of the initial police officer recruitment process in February 2010.

"A police constable has also received a final written warning in relation to this matter.

"The individuals in question have a right of appeal. For that reason it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this time."