Officer’s suspension: Probe cost £160,000

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and the police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and the police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
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A task group has issued its findings on what should be learned from the suspension of temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes last year.

Mr Rhodes was suspended by the police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire Alan Hardwick for alleged misconduct.

The suspension was described as “irrational and perverse” in a judicial review and Mr Rhodes was cleared of the allegations and returned to work shortly after.

He has since been permanently made Chief Constable for Lincolnshire.

The investigation by the task group cost £20,000 and the total cost of the investigation, including legal fees before and after the judicial review and an independent review by Sir Peter Fahy, was £160,000.

The final report will be considered on Thursday by the crime panel.

The panel comprises 10 councillors and two independent members and was formed to scutinise the action of the police and crime commissioner.

In its report, the panel recommend that the commissioner should:

l Seek expert legal advice regarding the viability of major decisions prior to making the decision.

l Carry out thorough risk assessments assessing corporate, strategic, legal, financial and reputational risks before making major decisions and do not focus solely on risks to the commissioner.

l Seek professional advice surrounding media and press releases when an investigation of a senior officer is to be undertaken.

Chairman of the task group, Chris Cook, said: “We have developed a detailed chronology of events before, during and after the suspension and we have reviewed hundreds of pages of evidence to enable us to form a credible and accurate report.

“The decision to suspend the temporary chief constable placed Lincolnshire Police under the glare of the national spotlight – attracting unfavourable media 
interest, public interest and, in the view of the task group, resulted in some costs that could have been much reduced.

“While it is clear the commissioner and temporary chief constable have both moved on from the suspension, the recommendations we will put before the panel are based on the evidence provided to us during our review and lessons we feel strongly should be learned as a result of what happened.

“As well as bringing about local change, we also hope that our conclusions and recommendations influence others, ensuring that 
similar situations are handled more effectively in the