Police probe Staff were disciplined over sales of tyres
POLICE staff responsible for maintaining Gloucestershire Constabulary’s fleet of vehicles sold part-worn tyres online for personal gain.
At least two members of the force’s staff were disciplined for ‘inappropriately’ selling the tyres once they were no longer of use to the force.
The investigation was launched in 2015, but the constabulary would not confirm the exact number of people involved, although none were officers.
Asked if the staff disciplined still worked in the fleet team or the force, a spokesman said the misconduct outcomes “are spent”, meaning those involved served their punishment.
The constabulary said it did not intend to provide any further information about the investigation.
It also admitted the probe was not published on its website – which would be normal policy – due to an “administrative oversight”, according to a Freedom of Information response. The
force has strongly denied a claim of covering up the investigation.
Misconduct hearings deal with allegations of gross misconduct by police officers and staff on or off duty.
The force said it was now “reviewing our procedures for publishing staff misconduct outcomes on our website”.
The constabulary confirmed a new manager was appointed after the review in 2017, stating it was “working with the team to improve morale and wellbeing within the department”.
The force operates a fleet of around 450 vehicles and the fleet team ensures they are properly maintained.
Meanwhile, a leaked document has revealed a review of the fleet team by a consultancy firm highlighted the team’s feeling that individual members who “went through the investigation were treated far too harshly and unfairly at the time”.
The information has been made public after a six-month investigation by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which also culminated in a warning from the Information Commissioner’s Office to the constabulary. The ICO expressed concern with the constabulary for failing to provide a response after 40 working days, and delaying the response a further 20 working days because a meeting to determine public interest factors had not been arranged. FOI requests are supposed to be answered within 21 working days.
According to the FOI requests sent by the LDRS:
Gloucestershire Constabulary paid £3,534.30 for consultancy firm Quest HR to conduct the development review
A misconduct investigation was carried out into the police staff fleet team for selling tyres from police cars online
When asked what the disciplinary outcomes were, the response said it exempted the information under FOI law as “given the small number of staff involved, would likely result in disclosing personal information”
When asked where on the force website the misconduct outcome was, it said it was not published online due to an “administrative oversight”. It added the investigation was under the allegation type of ‘honesty and integrity against police staff.’
The constabulary would not confirm whether the members of police staff still worked in the fleet team or whether the part-worn tyres were sold above or below market value.
It also said the development review was conducted partly in response to the misconduct investigation.
The report, which Gloucestershire Constabulary paid Quest HR to conduct and was finalised in February 2017, said: “Collectively, the team feels that the individual team members who went through the investigation and subsequent suspensions were treated far too harshly and unfairly at the time.
“There is also a collective feeling that the force handled events badly, that staff should have received some sort of formal or informal apology, and promised input and closer support was not forthcoming.”
In a summary of the findings, Quest HR split the team into three groups to explore how to move forward from “past events”. It said ‘Group A’ was still “very angry” by past events, ‘Group B’ was “seemingly prepared to move on and try and forget past events”, while Group C “are near or close to stepping away from the current environment”.
According to the FOI response, a workshop supervisor was appointed after the development review but “was not as a result” of it.
Gloucestershire Constabulary said “disciplinary sanctions” were issued to a number of police staff, leading to policies being amended and guidance issued on the disposal of tyres.
It added: “We must stress that during and since the investigation there has been no impact on our service to the public and the fleet department has continued to provide critical front-line support.
“Under the leadership of the Chief Constable, the constabulary has been implementing a supportive leadership and wellbeing programme across the organisation over the last two years and our latest staff survey results indicate this is having a very positive impact.”
‘The team feels that the individual team members who went through the investigation and subsequent suspensions were treated far too harshly and unfairly’
Staff at Gloucestershire Constabulary faced misconduct hearings for selling part-worn tyres on the internet for personal gain