Six Welwyn Hatfield police staff leave after gross misconduct probes launched

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 October 2013

Six Welwyn Hatfield police staff have left Herts Police following allegations of misconduct, including two who were dismissed

Six Welwyn Hatfield police staff have left Herts Police following allegations of misconduct, including two who were dismissed

Archant

SIX police staff from Welwyn Hatfield have left Herts Constabulary after gross misconduct probes were launched in the past two years, it has emerged.

Gross misconduct cases in Welwyn Hatfield

■ July 2011 - A WGC detective constable (DC) was given a final written warning for a ‘fitness for duty’ offence

■ September 2011 - A WGC civilian employee (CE) was given a final written warning for ‘discreditable conduct’

■ September 2011 – A WGC PCSO retired following an investigation into ‘discreditable conduct’

■ October 2011 – A Welwyn Hatfield detective sergeant resigned after an ‘honesty and integrity’ offence

■ January 2012 – A Welwyn Hatfield CE resigned following an investigation into ‘orders and instructions’ and ‘duties and responsibilities’ failings

■ July 2012 - A Hatfield-based PC was given a final written warning for an ‘honesty and integrity’ offence

■ September 2012 – A WGC CE was given a final written warning for an ‘honesty and integrity’ offence

■ September 2012 – A WGC CE resigned after a ‘duties and responsibilities’ offence

■ October 2012 – A WGC CE was dismissed without notice for ‘discreditable conduct’

■ October 2012 – A Hatfield CE was given a final written warning after ‘duties and responsibilities’ failings

■ November 2012 – A Hatfield PC was dismissed for ‘discreditable conduct’

Figures obtained by the WHT revealed two employees were dismissed, while three resigned and one was allowed to retire.

This week a police chief defended staff being allowed to leave before investigations were concluded, denying it was an “easy way out”.

Data from the force also showed a further five police employees were given written warnings for discreditable conduct, breaches of their fitness for duty, or for honesty and integrity infringements.

The details were released after a Freedom of Information Act request by the WHT, following the dismissal of former Hatfield PC Adesoji Afolabi.

Last month a court heard Afolabi admit having oral sex with a young and vulnerable woman he had arrested and flirted with at Hatfield Police Station.

Afolabi was cleared of rape, but Hertfordshire Constabulary said it was right to dismiss him.

Across Hertfordshire, 31 gross misconduct investigations have been held in the past two years, resulting in four staff being dismissed.

But police have refused to release specific details about the individual cases.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Adams said the Afolabi case was the “most serious” of the complaints the force had dealt with, and said the number of gross misconduct investigations was not unusual for an organisation with 4,000 staff.

He told the WHT: “We’re a public sector organisation and we don’t want people who don’t share our values.

“We’ll weed them out and dispense with them if necessary.”

Asked why staff were allowed to resign or retire before a ruling, Deputy Chief Constable Adams said: “If somebody chooses to resign, unless they’re suspended – when they have to seek our approval – they can do so.

“Sometimes it’s not in our gift to stop them resigning.

“But if they’re facing criminal investigations, it doesn’t matter whether they resign or not, those investigations will continue.”

And he added: “It’s often in the public interest and the financial interest to allow the resignation to occur.”

He said records of the disciplinary procedures are kept, and employees would usually be prevented from rejoining Herts Police, or any other police force.

He said it was not an “easy way out”, stating: “There are financial burdens for the individual, and the stigma from friends and family is still there.

“I don’t think it’s an easy way out, but there is a balance that needs to be made, considering the cost of the investigation.”


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