Po­lice chief cleared of any mis­con­duct

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX SCAPENS

AFORMER po­lice chief con­sta­ble who was sus­pended over bul­ly­ing al­le­ga­tions has been cleared of any mis­con­duct or gross mis­con­duct after a lengthy dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tion and for­mal hear­ing.

Si­mon Byrne be­came chief con­sta­ble of Cheshire Con­stab­u­lary in 2014.

He was sus­pended from duty in Au­gust last year and charged with gross mis­con­duct fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of bul­ly­ing, re­peat­edly be­ing late for work and be­ing ‘volatile, un­pre­dictable and of­fen­sive’ - al­le­ga­tions Mr Byrne de­nied.

A mis­con­duct hear­ing in War­ring­ton ear­lier this year was told he had a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing like ‘Darth Vader’ and treated ju­nior of­fi­cers and staff like ‘road­kill’.

But Cheshire po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner David Keane an­nounced on Tues­day that an in­de­pen­dent panel found ‘no mis­con­duct or gross mis­con­duct’.

The panel heard the case after an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by North York­shire Po­lice iden­ti­fied ‘mul­ti­ple cases of mis­con­duct to an­swer’ on Mr Byrne’s be­half.

In a writ­ten con­clu­sion, the panel said: “We found no mis­con­duct, or gross mis­con­duct, by Mr Byrne in the ev­i­dence pre­sented to us.

“This mis­con­duct panel has been an un­for­tu­nate ex­pe­ri­ence for all con­cerned and our over­rid­ing con­clu­sion is that it could – and should – have been avoided.”

A ‘clash of cul­tures, per­son­al­i­ties and at­ti­tudes within Cheshire Con­stab­u­lary fol­low­ing Mr Byrne’s ar­rival’ was re­ferred to and the panel con­cluded the ‘work­ing at­mos­phere in the force changed markedly’ with Mr Byrne’s ar­rival in 2014.

Mr Byrne, 55, was al­leged to have bul­lied and be­lit­tled staff after mov­ing from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice to take up the top role at the Cheshire force.

The hear­ing was told he handed pic­tures of Dad’s Army char­ac­ters to of­fi­cers after he be­came an­gry when flood­ing made him late for work.

He was also ac­cused of dis­play­ing ‘daily mood swings’ for a fort­night after his ap­pli­ca­tion for the post of chief con­sta­ble of GMP was re­jected in 2015.

The panel’s con­clu­sion went on: “We do not be­lieve there was any in­tent on Mr Byrne’s part to cause dis­tress among those with whom he worked.

“He was fo­cused on im­prov­ing the con­stab­u­lary’s per­for­mance in ev­ery as­pect he en­coun­tered.

“It seems en­tirely un­sur­pris­ing that some staff found this chal­leng­ing – es­pe­cially where their per­for­mance was (with rea­son­able jus­ti­fi­ca­tion) crit­i­cised.”

Mr Byrne’s con­tract as chief con­sta­ble has ex­pired since his sus­pen­sion.

In a state­ment, Mr Byrne said: “I am very pleased to have been to­tally ex­on­er­ated of any wrong­do­ing, de­spite the po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner try­ing to throw the book at me.

“All the al­le­ga­tions against me have been re­jected.

“This whole af­fair has been an or­deal for all par­ties that has gone on too long and wasted pre­cious pub­lic money.

“In some ways, it still feels like up­side down jus­tice as I have lost my vo­ca­tion after 35 years of pub­lic ser­vice.”

Si­mon Byrne be­came chief con­sta­ble of Cheshire Con­stab­u­lary in 2014

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.