Report on Neil Rhodes suspension to be considered by Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick during a community engagement event in Red Lion Square, Stamford
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick during a community engagement event in Red Lion Square, Stamford

A task group formed by the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel has issued its findings after reviewing what lessons can 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 after it was alleged that Mr Rhodes aided a Muslim lawyer from West Yorkshire Police in pursuing a claim of racial discrimination.

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

He has since been permanently made Chief Constable for Lincolnshire Police.

The investigation has cost over £160,000 and the final report will be considered by the Crime Panel on February 6.

Chairman of the Task Group, Chris Cook, said: “First I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Review. We have been rigorous and methodical in our approach.

“We have interviewed many witnesses, including the Commissioner and Chief Constable; 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 into the circumstances surrounding the suspension.

“The decision to suspend the Temporary Chief Constable placed Lincolnshire Police under the glare of the national spot light – attracting unfavourable media interest, public interest and, in the view of the Task Group, resulted in some costs that could have been much reduced.

“Whilst it is clear the Commissioner and Temporary Chief Constable have both moved on from the suspension, the recommendations we will put before the Police and Crime Panel on February 6 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 future.”

Recommendations made to the Commissioner include:

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

- 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 PCC.

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