Daily Mail

Axed drug-test Met chief got £400,000 during suspension

- By George Odling Crime Correspond­ent

A SENIOR policeman sacked this week for gross misconduct was paid more than £400,000 while suspended on full pay during a threeyear disciplina­ry saga that cost more than £1.5million.

Commander Julian Bennett, who wrote Scotland Yard’s anti-drugs strategy, was found by a disciplina­ry panel to have refused a drug test and sought special treatment from the commission­er.

He had been accused of taking cannabis ‘every morning’ before work and had been due to face proceeding­s in February last year but the panel hearing was postponed at the last moment at the request of his lawyers, before a series of further delays.

Bennett refused to take the drug test on July 21, 2020, but was sacked only on Tuesday night after spending three years collecting his salary of about £136,000.

The panel cleared Bennett, 64, who has served in the force since 1976, of using the drug at home, but found he had breached force standards for honesty and integrity, and accused him of discredita­ble conduct by refusing to provide a urine sample.

A former officer with intimate knowledge of the case said the fact that such a senior figure had been able to delay proceeding­s so long while continuing to take his salary risked accusation­s of a ‘two-tiered system’, adding: ‘We don’t see this sort of thing with lower level officers accused of misconduct.’

Bennett earned the nickname ‘Sacker’ for his hardline approach to misconduct hearings. When allegation­s about taking cannabis and LSD first emerged, he offered his resignatio­n but this was rejected.

He had been reported by his former lodger Sheila Gomes. He refused to provide a urine sample, claiming that his use of legal Cannabidio­l to treat facial palsy would result in a ‘false positive’. He asked a colleague to request that then

‘Claims of a cover-up’

commission­er Cressida Dick accept his resignatio­n, leading to claims of a ‘cover-up’.

The Mail revealed in August that he had been one of 600 officers across 43 forces accused of misconduct and suspended on full pay – at a cost of £1.6million a month.

The Met insisted it was making greater use of accelerate­d misconduct hearings.

 ?? ?? Case delayed: Bennett
Case delayed: Bennett

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom