A Metropolitan Police officer who blew the whistle on police reform and crime statistics “undermined public confidence in policing”, a misconduct hearing has found.
PC James Patrick (pictured) began a blog that was critical of aspects of police reform and crime recording, which was compiled into the book The Rest Is Silence – profits from which went to the Care of Police Survivors charity.
His subsequent evidence to Parliament triggered a whirlwind of publicity around the reliability of crime statistics.
Now he has been given a final written warning after the panel found he committed three counts of failing to follow orders or instructions and two of discreditable conduct.
The first three counts were failure to register a business interest, seek prior permission before publishing a book and comply with guidelines about officers and staff who want to write memoirs of their experiences.
The discreditable conduct related to publishing the blog and books and writing a “parody which was offensive”, the force said.
The Met added these could have “brought discredit on the Police Service and/or undermining public confidence in the Police Service”.
The hearing was chaired by a chief officer from an outside force. The Met had previously regarded the allegations as gross misconduct, until another force reviewed them and suggested they be downgraded to misconduct, where dismissal is not an option.
PC Patrick, who resigned but is still working his 11-week notice period and is on restricted duties, is taking the force to an employment tribunal that is due to take place on April 8.
He claimed he had registered a business interest even though the force’s policy specifically said this was unnecessary for voluntary activities.
Writing on his blog, he said: “I was charged with failing to register a business interest, even though Met policy was specific in not requiring a registration for voluntary activities and even though I had in fact registered the business interest on the October 8 2012 which had been authorised by my then line manager on the October 18.
“The ‘fact find’ commenced the following day, and I only discovered that a full investigation was to take place when resolving a pre-finalisation query from the Business Interest Team, sent to me on the 20th of November 2012.
“The investigating officers failed to uphold this allegation in their final report, dated February 2013. It was nevertheless included in the subsequent charges.”
PC Patrick also said the Met had made two changes to its policy relating to the writing of memoirs after the investigation into him began.
He wrote: “I made it clear that, had I been asked to comply with these obscure additions, I would have. The investigators themselves twice had to seek specialist advice and listed ‘policy issues’ in their ‘learning outcomes’.”
PC Patrick also criticised the misconduct meeting and said its chair “rushed through” the evidence provided and made a decision in just minutes.
He added: “The misconduct meeting chair concluded, in under 10 minutes, and having rushed through my 138-page submission based upon 6000 sheets of evidence – which I may as well have submitted blank – that he had ‘found’ on all charges, and that I would receive a final written warning.
“Matters are however, by no means, over and the above resume is the tip of an iceberg.”
From Police Oracle