Simon (allegedly) says

Simon Byrne, the chief constable of Cheshire Constabulary (as we go to press), faces a two-week disciplinary hearing in April. He is accused of having angry outbursts, conducting aggressive attacks, lacking authority, respect, courtesy, and self control, and exhibiting volatile unpredictable and offensive behaviour.

Feb 14, 2018

Simon Byrne, the chief constable of Cheshire Constabulary (as we go to press), faces a two-week disciplinary hearing in April. He is accused of having angry outbursts, conducting aggressive attacks, lacking authority, respect, courtesy, and self control, and exhibiting volatile unpredictable and offensive behaviour. Neither Mr Byrne nor the force has commented on the case at this stage. Plenty of other people have, and it would appear they have found working for him… interesting and challenging. The Cheshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) has taken 23 pages to accuse Mr Byrne of: having displayed a short temper and a lack of tolerance; engaging in angry outbursts and aggressive attacks upon his subordinates; and creating an intimidating, hostile and humiliating environment which caused distress and anxiety to staff in the ‘ACPO office’. This is a long list, but not as long as the citation, which details 74 separate allegations that will take at least two weeks to test when, or if, this hearing takes place. Some of the accusations appear trivial, some are bewildering. Mr Byrne is accused of berating and belittling the force’s head of IT – is this not the safety valve that protects iPads and phones from being hurled against the nearest wall? He is also accused of a “lack of understanding of the technology used”, other chief constables must be shuddering with the thought this constitutes gross misconduct. Mr Byrne is also accused of letting his children use a force tablet computer and blaming the device for failures that were caused by their downloads. It sounds like he knows more about IT than most of us. I have just had to look up ‘device’ and ‘download’ and I still don’t understand. He also stands accused of repeatedly failing to keep appointments and phone conferences with the North West’s other chief constables, although they may well argue that the meetings remained productive nonetheless. As if this litany of complaints was not enough, it is further alleged that he told a female inspector she should inform a female assistant chief constable that her hairclip did not conform to the force uniform standards. This indicates a commendable attention to detail in my opinion, but a worrying evasiveness and a level of courage beyond expectation. Some things are really best left unsaid, even by a subordinate. It would appear that Mr Byrne does not take failure too well, and it is further claimed that he exhibited severe mood swings and bullied an inspector after failing in his quest to become the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, perhaps because he could not locate the head of IT. As PCCs look afresh at the selection processes given Home Office and the inspectorate’s criticisms, some may consider the throwing of devices against a wall was cleverer than remonstrating with someone to make them work only for incriminating evidence to be found. Others may look to the selection panel in Greater Manchester to offer eternal truths around the best way to assess how a candidate will behave in the future. Throwing objects, damaging kit and aggressive behaviour towards subordinates are behaviours seldom exhibited on interview. We must hope that the PCCs involved are delightfully surprised by the conduct of appointees, but hope alone is seldom sufficient. Time will, as I might have mentioned before, tell… Yours, Stitch

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