The Daily Telegraph

Police whistleblo­wer sacked over warning on gun checks

- By Jack Hardy CRIME CORRESPOND­ENT

A FIREARMS whistleblo­wer who warned that poor police vetting could lead to dangerous people getting guns was bullied and unfairly dismissed by his force, a tribunal has found.

Tim Lumb was shocked by the poor standards he witnessed on joining the firearms licensing unit at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in a civilian role after 15 years as an officer in Derbyshire.

The unit was trying to overhaul its system for reviewing the background­s of gun licence applicants, as well as existing licence holders, after police inspectors found “inadequaci­es” in 2015.

However, over an 18-month period, Mr Lumb claimed he witnessed colleagues fail to carry out basic checks, including on names and addresses that would potentiall­y unearth domestic violence reports or police intelligen­ce linking individual­s to organised crime.

He saw “important informatio­n being missed” through inadequate searches on telephone records, as well as GP letters, which could contain important mental health informatio­n, not being added to an individual’s file for vetting purposes.

Mr Lumb claimed one colleague was “spending time on his mobile phone running his own business”, a tribunal was told. “When you first see it, you think, ‘oh, it’s a mistake’ and then that mistake keeps getting repeated,” he said.

As his frustratio­n and incredulit­y mounted, Mr Lumb tried to blow the whistle to his superiors at the force in October 2017, but nothing changed and he was exposed to bullying after his colleagues learnt of his complaint.

He was signed off work for medical reasons and returned in December 2017 to be told that his assignment had been terminated, with one manager claiming

‘When you first see it, you think “oh, it’s a mistake” but then that mistake keeps getting repeated’

he was “creating unrest”. Mr Lumb took legal action but was unable to get another police job in the four years it took until the tribunal process concluded this month.

Employment Judge Liz Ord, sitting in Manchester, concluded Mr Lumb’s disclosure­s qualified as whistleblo­wing, after an earlier tribunal found he had been unfairly dismissed and mistreated.

He hopes to receive £100,000 in compensati­on. A spokesman for GMP said: “As legal proceeding­s remain active, it would be inappropri­ate to comment at this time.”

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