Dismissed Without Notice
by TIM HICKS
UK Police Forces now publish Chief Officers’ expenses, to ensure openness and transparency, and to facilitate public, and media scrutiny.
In accordance with this policy, this article is one of a series of articles on North Yorkshire Police (NYP) Chief Officers’ expenses that have caused public concern, from 2006 to the present day.
They are in the public interest, being intended to raise awareness of this issue, improve financial control and accountability over the use of Police funds and, where possibl,e arrange for the Police funds to be repaid.
They lead up to an article that will try to assess the total cost to the North Yorkshire Taxpayer of these issues since 2006.
As our readers will be aware, I have for some time been trying to obtain explanations for the following issues relating to the expenses of Chief Officers of North Yorkshire Police:
- Why were expense payments made to Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Tim Madgwick for pursuing his private hobby activity of being a Board Member of the Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB)?
- Why did DCC Madgwick have a day trip to Dublin paid for by expenses, for which no explanation is given and which appears to be unconnected with his police duties?
- Why were expense payments made to Ms Joanna Carter, the former Chief Executive of the OPCC, of £1,937.38 without disclosing what they are for?
- Why were expense payments made to Chief Constable Winward for the full cost of attending FBI National Academy Alumni Association (FBINAA) conferences in multiple European cities which were not disclosed openly on the NYP website with an itinerary and training programme, appear to be of dubious training value and include time for (variously), sightseeing, shopping, networking and banquets?
- Why Chief Constable Winward was paid expenses for staying in the Four Star Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel from Friday 22nd September 2017 to attend an FBINAA conference that started on Monday the 25th of September (cost £354.48), when she should have booked one night for the 25th of September? (The current cost of a single room is £97.00).
- What was the expenditure on a Uniform Badge for PFCC Allott on 6th August 2021 was for, given that being Commissioner is not a uniformed or warranted appointment?
- Why Chief Officers’ expenses from 2013 onwards were paid without adequate disclosure on the Force website of what purpose the expenditure was for, whilst other Forces in the UK give full and open disclosure?
- Why all Polic,e Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Mulligan’s expenses from 2016 onward were paid without adequate disclosure of what purpose the expenditure was for and do not comply with the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information Order) 2011 as amended?
- What was the reason Chief Constable David Jones of North Yorkshire Police visited Northern Ireland in September 2014 and why was it charged to NYP through his expenses?
- What was the reason Chief Constable David Jones of North Yorkshire Police visited Northern Ireland on 9th & 10th May 2017 and why was it charged to NYP through his expenses?
- Why were Police funds paid to a Conservative politician to finance her legal action against NYE journalists (Operation HYSON), when this was not authorised by a Decision Notice?
- Why PFCC Mulligan, Chief Constable Jones and Chief Executive Carter authorised hundreds of thousands of pounds to be spent on legal action against NYE journalists (Operation HYSON) for criticising North Yorkshire Police over its failure to arrest Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli?
- Why PFCC Mulligan, Chief Constable Jones and Chief Executive Carter authorised hundreds of thousands of pounds to be spent on legal action against NYE journalists (Operation HYSON), when both Ms Carter and Chief Constable Jones had conflicts of interest in this decision which they did not declare?
- Why PFCC Mulligan, Chief Constable Jones and Chief Executive Carter authorised hundreds of thousands of pounds to be spent on legal action against NYE journalists (Operation HYSON) on behalf of individuals unconnected with the police, who had locked an old age pensioner and World War 2 veteran out of her home while she was ill abroad. Then tried to sell it from under her and keep the funds for themselves? (In my view an offence of fraud by abuse of position).
- Why did Chief Constable Maxwell charge the cost of a visit to the Edinburgh Tattoo to expenses?
To progress issues 11, 12, 13 and 14 and let the good taxpayers of North Yorkshire assess whether or not Operation HYSON represented value for money or was appropriate, I need to publish extracts from the witness statements submitted by the plaintiffs. However, both PFCC Metcalfe (pictured above in the lead illustration) and Chief Constable Winward have refused to respond to correspondence on these issues, release any information on what the justification for this expenditure is for, or to authorise publication of extracts from the witness statements. Although this is information the taxpayers of North Yorkshire are entitled to know.
The question has to be asked: if the above expenditure is bona fide and justifiable, why won’t Chief Constable Winward and PFCC Metcalfe resolve this by stating the justification for the expenditure and releasing the extracts from the witness statements?
It appears at first glance that some of the above issues could relate to offences of Misconduct in Public Office, Fraud by Abuse of Position, Fraud by Failing to Disclose Information, Fraud by False Representation, Conspiracy to Defraud, Misconduct within the meaning of the Police Conduct Regulations 2020 and its predecessor regulations, and/or misuse of Police funds. However, it is also possible that there is a valid explanation for this expenditure. But if this is so, then Commissioner Metcalfe and Chief Constable Winward have a duty to publish it. The issue is openness, disclosure and accountability.
However, my enquiries have been met by a wall of silence by the Chief Constable and the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner.
This is all particularly concerning because NYP has been continually plagued by financial scandals involving Chief Police Officers for many years (listed here and here). It appears that nothing has changed.
North Yorkshire Police compared to West Mercia Police
Recently, PC Oliver Dines from West Mercia Police was dismissed without notice over misuse of Police funds amounting to £255.46. The matter was resolved openly and quickly in an accelerated misconduct hearing, thereby maintaining public confidence in the Police.
Chief Constable Pippa Mills, who led the misconduct hearing and took the decision to dismiss PC Dines said:
“Honesty and integrity is not negotiable for a police officer. Police officers are expected to act with honesty and integrity in everything they do, and this was clearly lacking in PC Dines’ behaviour. I am committed to taking whatever action is needed to make sure that West Mercia Police is a force that the public can trust and be proud of.”
These views are highly commendable and perfectly summarise my own views on the importance of integrity in the police service, of Chief Officers setting an appropriate example and of maintaining public confidence in the police.
Chief Constable Pippa Mills
An Officer of integrity who maintains service discipline and public confidence in the Police.
Compare this open and robust policy on misuse of Police funds with that adopted by Chief Constable Winward.
The secrecy surrounding Chief Police Officers’ expenses simply raises suspicion and mistrust amongst the public. However, Chief Constable Winward and Commissioner Metcalfe have refused to respond on these issues and, as Chief Constable Mills states above, this undermines public confidence in the Police.
Both Commissioner Metcalfe and Chief Constable Winward have fundamental conflicts of interest in these matters. Chief Constable Winward is herself the subject of enquiries over her expenses, whilst Commissioner Metcalfe is a Conservative politician and some of the above concerns relate to the actions of a senior member of her party.
It therefore appears possible that Commissioner Metcalfe is refusing to respond to correspondence in order to conceal misuse of Police funds, serious crime and/or misconduct by Police Officers, a Conservative politician and members or former members of her staff in the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.
Clearly, when faced with a Police Officer whot had misused Police funds, Chief Constable Mills had no other choice but to dismiss him from the service. In my experience, this would also have been the result for an employee in the public sector. The only difference being terminology – it would be called “Summarily dismissed for an act of gross misconduct”. Further, in my experience if these questions arose about executives in a public company, there would be a swift investigation by internal audit, followed by termination of contract if there was any abuse of trust, company funds or company procedures. So why should NYP Chief Officers be any different?
I have no doubt that under the leadership of an Officer of the calibre of Chief Constable Mills, these matters would have been openly and rigorously investigated. In North Yorkshire, the issue has been evaded by putting up a wall of silence. So why can’t the good taxpayers of North Yorkshire have the same standards of integrity and accountability applied to the Police as in West Mercia?
The refusal of Chief Constable Winward to investigate concerns over Senior Officers’ expenses undermines the efforts of Officers like Chief Constable Mills to uphold normal standards of behaviour and service discipline, and restore public confidence in the Police.
As it currently stands, as a result of Chief Constable Winwards thunderous silence, it appears there is one standard of openness, accountability and Police discipline for Constables and none for herself and Senior Officers.
North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Panel investigating
To resolve this, I have now been forced to make a formal complaint about PFCC Metcalfe to the North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Panel.
The complaint concerns her failure to respond to correspondence on these matters, hold the Police to account, challenge poor behaviour, be open and accountable, or to maintain normal standards of financial control over public funds.
I will report back to our readership on the panel’s response in due course.
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