Lincolnshire’s acting chief constable has been cleared of allegations of mishandling an employment tribunal after an independent investigation.
Neil Rhodes was suspended by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick in February. He maintained his innocence and was reinstated after a judicial review into the suspension in March.
Chief constable of Manchester police Sir Peter Fahy carried out an independent review or Mr Rhodes’ conduct and today cleared him of the misconduct allegation.
Mr Rhodes said: “I am very grateful to Sir Peter for a thorough and comprehensive investigation and I am naturally delighted that I have been completely exonerated in relation to all aspects of the conduct allegation.
“I have sought over the last six months to maintain a dignified silence, safe in the knowledge that I knew that there was never any substance in the spurious allegation.
“I do not intend to depart from this approach, and wish simply to get on with my job of working with the commissioner to provide effective and improving policing for our county of Lincolnshire.
“When the commissioner decides to recruit a permanent chief constable I can confirm that it is my intention to apply for the position.”
Sir Peter recommended that the Chief Police Officers Staff Association agree a written protocol and clear definition of the role of officers in employment grievance and other similar cases.
Such a protocol should specifically assist with clarity around many of the issues highlighted in this case. For example: without prejudice conversations, appropriate negotiating channels and conflicts of interest.
Mr Rhodes thanked his family, friends and colleagues for their support since February.
He added: “If I was surprised by the support of the professional community across the county who work with the police, I was simply humbled by the many, many messages I received, and continue to receive, from ordinary members of the public who I have never met.
“I just can’t thank all of you enough. It inspires me to work harder for you all.”
Mr Hardwick said: “I wish to express my thanks to Sir Peter for a thorough investigation. His recommendations are the right ones.
“I am pleased that we are able to bring what has been an unwanted and unwelcome distraction for the chief constable and me to a conclusion. We will both now be able to continue to focus fully on the business of policing Lincolnshire.
“Elsewhere in the public service we have seen what happens when investigations are not carried out. In this case, the allegation was so serious that Sir Peter confirmed in his severity assessment it would have amounted to misconduct if proven.”
The full report can be seen on the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner website.