Sunday, May 10, 2015

London police fire commander for inappropriate behaviour to four why DID they cover it up?

Police force held hearing behind closed doors just one day before new rules about public hearing came into force. It looks like the coverup is producing a Streisand (counter-productive) effect

Scotland Yard was facing cover-up accusations last night after it secretly sacked a senior officer over his behaviour towards female colleagues.

Borough commander Darren Williams was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct and breaching professional standards. However, the Met held his hearing behind closed doors a day before new rules came into force that mean cases must be public.

The force failed to issue a press release, in contrast to when junior officers were disciplined for their part in the ‘Plebgate’ row. And it refused to give any details of the incidents that led to his sacking.

Detective Chief Superintendent Williams had been suspended on full pay since January 2014 from his £80,000-a-year role as area chief for Merton, South London.

The 47-year-old, who served in the Army before his 27 years in the police, was accused of behaving ‘in an inappropriate way towards female colleagues on four occasions’ and of ‘failing to record a gift received’.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of discreditable conduct and one of a failure to follow orders and instructions – but denied they amounted to gross misconduct.

It is understood Mr Williams, a widely respected officer who had won praise for charity work, felt his punishment was disproportionate, especially after he admitted wrongdoing.

Sources said his inappropriate behaviour towards women was not of a sexual nature.

After a two-day hearing that finished on April 30, a panel of two senior police officers and one lay member found he had breached standards of professional behaviour and ‘found the matters proven as gross misconduct’.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor, who heads the Met’s directorate of professionalism, said: ‘We expect high standards from our officers and we are naturally very disappointed that Darren Williams’s behaviour has fallen significantly short of that expected of any officer, let alone one so senior.’

The next day – May 1 – Home Office regulations came into force that require disciplinary hearings to be held in public.

But Scotland Yard said that misconduct papers had been served on Mr Williams in March, so the force was not obliged to hold his case in public.

There is no criminal investigation and he will not lose his pension.

Mr Williams, who is being supported by the Superintendents’ Association, is believed to be devastated by the decision and is considering mounting an appeal.

Asked why the sacking was not announced in a press release, Scotland Yard simply replied: ‘Not prepared to discuss.’

Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, said local people were asking what Mr Williams had done.

‘There is this question about what’s going on here from residents. The process has been very harsh on what seems to have been an excellent borough commander,’ he told The Mail on Sunday.

The Superintendents’ Association declined to comment.

Original report here

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