The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Alan Hardwick, has spoken about the allegation that led to his decision to suspend the county’s temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes.
Mr Rhodes was suspended by Mr Hardwick on February 26 over a “potential conduct matter.”
In a statement released today (26 March) Mr Hardwick said: “I received an allegation that Mr Rhodes was involved in the pursuit of allegation of racial discrimination which he knew to be a contrivance.
“It was claimed this was in an attempt to force settlement of another individual’s employment tribunal claim with another police force.
“As suspension is a neutral act I had hoped that the nature of the allegation would not be made public until the independent investigation, led by Sir Peter Fahy, was complete. This would have protected Mr Rhodes from undue public scrutiny.
“Sadly Mr Rhodes is intent on taking legal action against me, thus bringing matters into the public domain.
“It saddens me even more to report that during the course of correspondence since the suspension, Mr Rhodes has argued that even if the allegation made against him was true, he did not believe his actions to be wrong.
“When I was elected I took an oath of office in which I declared I would always act with integrity. Police constables make a similar commitment. It would be completely unacceptable for anyone to behave in the way Mr Rhodes is alleged to have behaved and I am deeply troubled by the views he has expressed in correspondence since his suspension.
“I believe anyone in public office must exhibit a strong sense of right and wrong, no-one more so that a police officer. And it would therefore be truly reprehensible for any chief constable to seek to exert influence on behalf of another chief officer to secure increased payment of public money in compensation awards and to do so based on an untruth.
“How could I or the public of Lincolnshire have the confidence and trust to leave Mr Rhodes in post while there were such questions over his integrity? The public interest and the interests of the people of Lincolnshire are paramount to me and will always remain so.”