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Digging deep
29 Aug 2013

The farce that has been the suspension, end of suspension and re-suspension of Stuart Hyde this week illustrates the kind of mess that can result in a police and crime commissioner (PCC) floundering in the legislation governing chief constable scrutiny.

It has been quite comical as staff in the office sought answers to key questions about the matter. Only it is not funny when the PCC has caused almost half a million pounds to be spent on dealing with the allegations. How can so much be spent on an investigation, legal advice and seconding another force’s chief officer when the matter is deemed not to amount to misconduct?

After a seven month investigation, using officers and staff whose time has been costed at more than £134,000 plus expenses, Richard Rhodes has ignored its recommendations, and even failed to publish the report for the public to see; his office recommended we submit a Freedom of Information request. This would appear neither transparent, nor accountable governing.

As Richard Rhodes no longer has jurisdiction over Mr Hyde after August 30, when his tenure as temporary chief constable ends and he reverts to deputy chief constable, surely he must return in his substantial role. It will then be for the chief constable, Bernard Lawson, to decide on the next procedure.

So why did Mr Rhodes suspend him again on Friday and instigate Section 38 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act proceedings, seeking his resignation or retirement, knowing that was the case? The procedure takes at least six weeks to run.

As Police Professional goes to press,the chief executive of the PCC’s office and Stuart Hyde can’t say what will happen this Friday when Mr Hyde should presumably walk back into his office.

Richard Rhodes has released statements on his website that appear to contradict each other and he won’t come to the phone to explain his decision. Once again a PCC has managed to create the perception that he is not in control but is spending a fortune digging a bigger hole in which someone will have to lie.

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