IOPC accused of ‘witch hunt’ over three-year inquiry into previously cleared officer

A staff association has demanded an apology for an officer who faced a three-year gross misconduct investigation despite having already been cleared.

Feb 7, 2018

A staff association has demanded an apology for an officer who faced a three-year gross misconduct investigation despite having already been cleared. Inspector Matthew Mozley was found innocent of wrongdoing on Monday (February 5) after being accused of excessive force during an off-duty arrest. Both Derbyshire Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had already decided not to take the case forward – but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) insisted he face a gross misconduct hearing. Derbyshire Police Federation (DPF) accused the IOPC of carrying out a “witch hunt” with a “complete lack of reliable evidence”. DPF chair Tony Wetton said: “For almost three years, Insp Mozley has had this hanging over him, causing him and his family considerable stress, misery and uncertainty. “But there are now questions to be answered by the IOPC not just in terms of the effect this has had on him and his family but also over the considerable cost of these unnecessary proceedings. “I am yet to hear of any apology or contrition from the IOPC over this matter. Someone should feel professionally embarrassed but there is no indication that that is the case.” Insp Mozley was off duty when he arrested Anthony Cook in 2015 on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly. Mr Cook, who has since passed away, sustained a fractured collarbone during the arrest. A local investigation found Insp Mozley had no case to answer and Derbyshire Constabulary’s professional standards department reached the same conclusion. The CPS also examined the allegations and decided not to bring charges. Mr Cook appealed the findings and his father lodged a second appeal following his death. The IOPC upheld both appeals and recommended Insp Mozley should face gross misconduct proceedings last March. When Derbyshire Constabulary disagreed, it directed the force to schedule a hearing. Clearing Insp Mozley, hearing chair Jane Jones recognised his exemplary record and said it was “astounding” he should face a public misconduct hearing three years after the incident. She added: “We know that he is a very experienced officer. He was a sergeant in firearms. He would be acutely aware of the need to justify any use of force.” Deputy Chief Constable Gary Knighton said: “The panel recognised that throughout the process, Inspector Mozley has provided full answers and accounts of his actions and the justification for them and that the explanations have integrity. “The panel have described Inspector Mozley as a first-class officer who embodies the very best of Derbyshire Constabulary both on and off duty and the force shares this view of our officer. “He acted out of concern that day, off-duty, to protect members of the community. The panel has completely vindicated him in taking this action.”

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