Transfer to Hampshire Constabulary
I served the majority of my service in the Metropolitan Police and transferred to Hampshire Constabulary when Hampshire advertised for Sergeants to transfer in from other forces.
I attended a selection board in Hampshire where I first met Superintendent Derek Stevens who was a member of the panel and asked me various questions.
Superintendent Stevens was an officer who subsequently became the head of Hampshire Professional Standards Department ‘PSD’ and who I subsequently had further dealings with whilst he was in that role.
Mr Stevens was a mild mannered pleasant man but had to make tough decisions which I felt fell on the side of protecting the reputation of the force and senior officers; in particular former Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead.
Mr Readhead I felt was a big fish in a small pond, unusually Mr Readhead had never moved between different police forces as other senior officers would do on promotion.
I believe that this unusual situation resulted in the officer being unable to deal appropriately with misconduct by officers he had known all his service; I had also been informed that at some point in his service Mr Readhead had been compromised and was now having to protect an officer rather than pursue criminal matters against the officer.
In an employment tribunal judgment, comment was made that the panel believed that the same officer was being protected.
The same officer had previously been demoted from Inspector following allegations of sexual assault, any other person or officer would have been subject to a criminal prosecution especially; as there had been other victims of similar conduct.
Myself and another Sgt subsequently became victims of the same officer in a prolonged campaign when we raised concerns regarding the officer’s conduct on the Isle of Wight.
We were not the only officers to have have had an issue with the same officer; (extract from statement in an employment tribunal case) :-
“In short, xxxxxxxxxx has caused me and my Department problems upon his appointment to the Public Order Training Department as inspector. His over bearing manner with his sergeants, who complained of this to me, and his frequent use of obscene language in the classroom and at regional meetings where he represented the Constabulary were a source of serious concern to me. I had verbally warned and advised him on a number of occasions and when this advice was ignored, I warned him again, recording this very formal warning in my pocket notebook.”
“It is also interesting to note that Chief Inspector xxxxxxxxxx complained about a lack of an adequate response to his concerns about xxxxxxxxxx from the Force.”
The same Chief Inspector hadalso raised concerns about the officer previously however; it seemed that the officer was being protected long before my contact with him.
Although the Home Secretary had refused xxxxxxxxxx appeal to return him to the rank of Inspector, shortly before retirement xxxxxxxxxx was promoted back to Inspector despite no longer being qualified or having passed the National Ospre exams.
This would obviously mean a larger lump sum and larger monthly pension payment.
This was just one example of how this force appeared to operate, a culture of fear, bullying and back scratching which appeared to extend beyond retirement.
The officer subsequently went on to work as a Ship’s Security Officer for a large cruiseline.
I think my first contact with Mr Stevens at that interview was an indication of things to come where I was led to believe that I would be posted to an area where my skills and experience could be best utilised.
The reality was somewhat different and we were were there simply to fill gaps as the force were unable to fill vacancies in their own force.
I was posted as a custody sergeant at Portsmouth Central police station where I would be unable to meet the public and assist victims of crime.
I was part of a group of several sergeants who had transferred at the same time; some of those returned to their own forces or transferred on to the MOD police when it became apparent that the grass was not greener and some of us felt duped.
The force wanted to give the impression that it was superior to other forces and as such would not accept any qualifications obtained in other forces such as driving skills or CID experience.
I carried out my duties as a custody sergeant diligently and recall preparing a good work report for two detention officers who prevented a youth from hanging himself in a cell.
This did not seem welcomed by the other custody sergeants however; I was my own person and did what I felt was right which included praising staff at appropriate times.
Similarly, I questioned the removal of slippers from an elderly female with dementia who was put in the cells following taking a bar of chocolate from a shop without paying. It was practice at that time to remove footwear from everyone which were left outside the cell.
After a while it became apparent that I would be unlikely to be successful in reapplying to join the CID in Hampshire unless I could be posted somewhere else as a Patrol Sergeant. I would need to learn the procedures in Hampshire and gather evidence necessary to assist in an application to be a Detective Sergeant in Hampshire.
I made a request and subsequently experienced the first indication of the bullying culture of the force by the then Director of Personnel Maureen Adamson. Mrs Adamson would also feature later in this story where the incidents of bullying would escalate.
An enquiry by an outside force (West Midlands Police) later found that she bullied staff in her own department when a complaint had been made by Peta Holt; head of diversity in the force.
As the story develops you will be able to join the dots and see how the same names keep cropping up, also interesting to see how the same names are also friends on facebook.
Suffice to say that it did not take long to find out that this force had little respect for some of its staff and there was an unhealthy culture of fear and bullying.
The next post will concern my transfer to the Isle of Wight and give an insight to an Island that Hampshire always considered a problem and did not want as part of the force however; was happy to use as the Island as punishment posting or dumping ground for lazy and incompetent officers.
What I did not know at the time was that a dog handler who had been a whistleblower had committed suicide on the Island and also a recent employment tribunal case had raised concerns regarding the culture on the Island which I was to experience first hand.