No action against former ACC Steven Heywood after misconduct charges are dropped

A retired assistant chief constable accused of misleading a public inquiry into a fatal police shooting will not face any disciplinary action, following a decision made at a three-minute hearing held by his former force.

Aug 21, 2020
By Website Editor

Gross misconduct allegations against Steven Heywood, who retired from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 2018, were dismissed by an independent panel at an online hearing in June, as the force was accused of a “fundamental disregard” for everyone involved in the proceedings.

Mr Heywood was investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after giving evidence at an inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger, 36, who was fatally shot by a firearms officer in a car park in Culcheth, Cheshire, in 2012.

The investigation found Mr Heywood may have committed a criminal offence, but in November 2018 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to charge him due to insufficient evidence.

The senior officer faced a gross misconduct hearing for allegedly breaching the force standards of honesty and integrity.

He admitted he did not initially tell the inquiry that entries in his firearms log were made retrospectively.

The log, which contained inaccurate information about Mr Grainger’s previous convictions, was alleged to have been made to “retrospectively justify” Mr Heywood’s decision to authorise a firearms operation, carried out in the days leading up to Mr Grainger’s death.

But at the two-day panel hearing in June, Gerry Boyle QC, representing GMP, said it would be “unfair” to continue as the hearing would not have access to redacted material, including evidence given during closed session at the public inquiry in 2017.

Chairwoman of the panel, Nahied Asjad, made “no finding” and criticised the delay in the proceedings as she dismissed the allegations.

She said: “Mr Grainger’s family, Mr Heywood and the public have been let down by the appropriate authority in this case and we note there was no contrition or apology to anyone in what was said on their behalf this morning.”

John Beggs QC, representing Mr Heywood, said it would not be possible for the redacted evidence to be heard and accused GMP of an “omnishambles” for delays in the case.

Mr Grainger’s partner, Gail Hadfield Grainger, asked to make a submission to the hearing, but was not allowed to speak.

Despite the allegations being dismissed in June, on Friday (August 21) Ian Pilling, deputy chief constable of GMP, said under police conduct regulations a further hearing had to be held, “to consider what disciplinary action, if any, should be imposed given the findings by the panel”.

Mr Heywood was not present at the hearing or legally represented.

Mr Pilling said: “I find that the case against Mr Heywood is dismissed and there is therefore no basis for the imposition of any disciplinary action.”

The hearing lasted for just over three minutes.

Father-of-two Mr Grainger was unarmed when he was shot through the windscreen of a stolen Audi on March 3 2012.

In January 2014 the then chief constable of GMP, Sir Peter Fahy, was charged with a health and safety breach over the shooting, but the case was thrown out after it was argued evidence was so secret it could not be put before a jury.

Last year the public inquiry into his death found “serious deficiencies” in the planning and conduct of the operation by senior officers.

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