Assistant Chief Constable originally faced dismissal but will now be allowed to retire
ATOP anti-terror officer facing the sack after a thief stole confidential documents is being allowed to retire by West Midlands Police – potentially protecting a threatened pension windfall.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, 54, had admitted breaching the Official Secrets Act by leaving the classified files in his force vehicle for five days, during which time crooks struck.
In February, the former head of West Midlands Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit was also found guilty of gross misconduct at a force disciplinary hearing.
Mr Beale had been expected to be dismissed at a recent hearing in front of Chief Constable Dave Thompson, which would have reportedly seen him lose a taxfree £215,000 pension lump sum.
But the meeting was postponed just hours before it was due to go ahead for a judicial review and has now been rescheduled for April 18.
However, the Birmingham Post understands that Mr Beale had completed 30 years’ service on Monday April 2.
West Midlands Police had initially said it was ‘considering’ a retirement request from Mr Beale. “We can confirm that ACC Marcus Beale has indicated his intention to retire after 30 years’ service,” a statement read. “That request is being looked at by the force and will be considered in due course.” But last Friday, the force issued a new statement, which said: “Marcus Beale’s retirement application has now been processed by the force and we can confirm that he will retire on April 28. “A further special case hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday April 18 before Chief Constable Dave Thompson.” It is understood that all options will remain on the table at the special case hearing in front of Mr Thompson, who will make any final decision about Mr Beale’s pension. The anti-terror cop had been handed the highly classified documents on May 10 last year. He placed them in a metal suitcase and locked them in the boot of his car.
But the force vehicle was later left unattended outside a pub, a supermarket and at a train station while the officer and his wife visited London.
It was only after five days that Mr Beale discovered the secret papers had been stolen, a theft first revealed by the Birmingham Post and which came after terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.
It is understood the former high-flying officer was always due to retire on April 2 after serving 30 years with the force.
But the delay in concluding his disciplinary hearing may have ensured that while his career has ended in controversy, his financial future is secure.
Mr Beale was unavailable for comment but at his disciplinary hearing his lawyer, John Beggs QC, said this was an “isolated” incident in an otherwise unblemished career.
“He is a police officer of outstanding calibre,” he said.
“Why did he make such a mistake? He does work in punishing circumstances working long hours.
“Even the very finest humans make mistakes.
“In his role as leader of the West Midlands Counter Terrorist Unit he has saved many lives both regionally and nationally.
“If one of the finest police officers in the country was dismissed for this it would be a very sad case.”
He does work in punishing circumstances working long hours. Even the very finest humans make mistakes
> Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, 54, admitted breaching the Official Secrets Act