Wednesday 24th July 2019,
North Yorks Enquirer

Bullygan Scandal: NYE’s concerns vindicated in Parliament

Bullygan Scandal: NYE’s concerns vindicated in Parliament

by TIM HICKS

~~~~~

Introduction

Regular readers of the NYE will recall that a disciplinary investigation by the North Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel found that the then North Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) (Now Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC)) and (embarrassingly) the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (APCC) Lead Spokesperson on Transparency and Integrity Julia Mulligan had bullied members of her staff. This was covered in depth by the NYE in the following articles:

Further allegations were made of the same sort of conduct by additional members of staff. They are to be investigated by the North Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel next week along with concerns over Mrs Mulligan’s comments on the original report which upheld the complaint of bullying against her.

In addition, the Chair of the Police & Crime Panel County Councillor Carl Les has reported Mrs Mulligan to Conservative Party Headquarters for contravening the Conservative Party Code of Conduct for Elected Representatives. The outcome of this investigation is also still awaited.

Parliamentary criticism of Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan  

Now in an entirely unexpected development, Lib Dem Peer Baroness Harris of Richmond, -herself a former Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority which was replaced by the office of Police & Crime Commissioner in November 2012- has criticised PFCC Mulligan in the House of Lords.

Baroness Harris is quoted in this excellent Yorkshire Post article by Claire Wilde, as saying she was:

“very concerned that the PCC for North Yorkshire has been allowed to take over the fire and rescue service while still having further charges of bullying brought against her”.

and

“She (PFCC Mulligan) treats people who disagree with her with utter contempt.”

She was speaking in a debate in the House of Lords in support of a motion submitted by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Pinnock, to register its concerns over Mrs Mulligan’s appointment as PFCC on the basis that it would “severely impact on the fire service’s capacity to serve residents”.

Baroness Harris went on to make specific criticisms of PFCC Mulligan which perfectly reflected the concerns raised by the NYE.

NYE concerns about PFCC Mulligan’s bullying behaviour making her unsuitable for office vindicated in Parliament 

Baroness Harris went on to state the blatantly obvious, which is that Mrs Mulligan is unfit for employment as North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner:

“Until this PCC can understand that leadership means listening to people and taking them with her, rather than bullying them, she is not suitable to hold such a vital office.”

This is essentially the same line the NYE took in this article. In which I opined that Mulligan’s behaviour was so poor that she should be removed from office.

Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove pictured with PFCC Mulligan

NYE concerns about PFCC Mulligan’s suppression of information vindicated in Parliament

Baroness Harris is quoted as having said that:

“Indeed, it appears that she has led North Yorkshire Police into its worst financial crisis since the millennium.  

There is a £10m shortfall this financial year, which may come as a surprise to the people of North Yorkshire as there has been no public acknowledgement of this gathering storm.”

(My emphasis in bold)

The £10m shortfall was unknown to the NYE, presumably because of the lack of any public statement about this by PFCC Mulligan that Baroness Harris referred to. In short, it has been deliberately kept quiet and withheld from the public.This entirely accords with the NYE’s experience and comments on PFCC Mulligan’s method of operation.

In our series of articles on the results of the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) “PEEL” assessments by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (Another NYP crime recording scandal and Bravo Sierra at NYP HQ), the NYE pointed out that NYP has been given a rating of “INADEQUATE” (the lowest available to the Inspectorate) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) for crime recording:

“As it stands today, we estimate almost 1 in 5 crimes in North Yorkshire are not properly recorded. This is simply inexcusable.”

 When the 2017 HMICFRS Overall Efficiency assessment for NYP was assessed as “Requires Improvement”, Assistant Chief Constable Phil Cain issued a statement that “North Yorkshire remains the safest county in England, we are one of only two Forces to have actually reduced crime in this inspection period,”

In fact, the reduction in crime was fictional. Had the crime recording had been accurate, the HMICFRS Overall Efficiency Assessment for NYP would probably have been “Inadequate” (the lowest rating available). There had obviously been a major decrease in the performance of NYP. This has never been acknowledged by PFCC Mulligan. It appears to have been effortlessly swept under the carpet. It was only revealed exclusively by the NYE.

Conservative Party circles the wagons around PFCC Mulligan

Needless to say, the Conservative Peers in the House of Lords circled the wagons around PFCC Mulligan and the motion was defeated on the basis that it was politically motivated.

This does not in any way detract from the gravity of the allegations against PFCC Mulligan or their accuracy.

Nor does it undermine Baroness Harris’s decision to intervene and publicly denounce Mrs Mulligan over what are very serious acts of misconduct. This must bring into question Mrs Mulligan’s suitability for employment as PFCCNY. After all, the Police & Crime Panel for North Yorkshire investigation was chaired by a Conservative Councillor.

In my experience, if a manager in any large organisation was found guilty of bullying, he or she would be summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. Perhaps these standards do not apply in NYP. If so, then in my view they should do.

If PFCC Mulligan resigns or is dismissed, it will be a sad day for the NYE. She may be inadequate as Police Fire & Crime Commissioner and an office bully. But PFCC Mulligan has provided the NYE with a succession of really good misconduct stories and she also got us our biggest ever article in Private Eye. (See Private Eye article on Operation Hyson).

She has also given us arguably some of the best photoons in the history of the NYE.

. . . and some really excellent Codhead cartoons:

It is highly unlikely that North Yorkshire Conservatives will find someone less competent than Julia to replace her as Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. So if Julia is sacked, the source of all these fine stories, Photoons and cartoons will dry up.

In real terms, she has been one of our most loyal and effective supporters, providing material for many articles in the NYE. If there was an NYE award for best individual supplier, I would award it to Julia.

However, the public interest is paramount here. The people of North Yorkshire, the employees of the PFCC for North Yorkshire, the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners and the officers of North Yorkshire Police all deserve better than the falling standards, personal misconduct and concealed financial shortfalls PFCC Mulligan is delivering.

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