Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has been told he was wrong to suspend the county's temporary Chief Constable, a move that has cost taxpayers more than a £160,000.
A report into the lessons learned reveals Alan Hardwick ignored legal advice when he suspended Neil Rhodes. Mr Rhodes is now confirmed as the new chief and Mr Hardwick said today the pair had moved on.
Chris Kiddey reports:
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Hardwick, says he and Chief Constable, Neil Rhodes, have moved on from their previous 'difficulties':
The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner was wrong to suspend Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, a report has found.
The Crime Panel said Alan Hardwick ignored legal advice about the suspension, which ended up costing taxpayers more than £165,000.
It stated that although Mr Hardwick was right to investigate the claim that Mr Rhodes had mishandled an employment tribunal, suspending him was unnecessary.
Lincolnshire Police Federation is calling for a permanent chief constable to be appointed swiftly, to bring stability to the force.
It's after temporary chief constable Neil Rhodes was suspended by the Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick back in February over allegations of misconduct.
But yesterday, following a judicial review overturning that decision, an independent report has also now recommended the misconduct allegation be withdrawn. There are now four people currently in temporary positions at the top of the force.
Lincolnshire's Police Federation says it hopes the process of selecting a permanent Chief Constable is carried out soon, a day after an independent report cleared Neil Rhodes of any wrongdoing.
Mister Rhodes was suspended by the Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick back in February over allegations of misconduct. But following a judicial review overturning that decision, an independent report has also now recommended the misconduct allegation be withdrawn.
The Police Federation says it's now time to get stability back at the top of the force - where four people are currently in temporary positions.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has welcomed today's findings of the independent report which has cleared Lincolnshire Chief Constable of misconduct allegations.
“I am delighted that the investigation by Sir Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, has cleared Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes of allegations of misconduct by Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick and those who advise him, " said Mr McCartney.
“Sir Peter’s report of course comes months after the decision earlier this year by the Independent Police Complaints Commission not to investigate the allegations against Chief Constable Rhodes and the High Court’s decision in Manchester to quash his suspension.
“As I have stated before, Police & Crime Commissioners up and down our Country need to think long and hard before taking the decision to suspend a Chief Constable and, as my initial reservations have borne out, this case just goes to show there are always two sides to every story.”
The investigation into the conduct of Lincolnshire's top police officer has found there is no proof to substantiate a misconduct allegation.
Alan Hardwick the county's Police and Crime Commissioner suspended Neil Rhodes in February. But after going to court Mr Rhodes was reinstated in April.
Now a report from the Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester force has recommended the misconduct allegation against Mr Rhodes be formally withdrawn.
Mr Rhodes said: " l am naturally delighted that I have been completely exonerated in relation to all aspects of the conduct allegation.
"I have sought over the last six months to maintain a dignified silence, safe in the knowledge that I knew that there was never any substance in the spurious allegation. "
A decision by Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Comissioner to suspend the force's Temporary Chief Constable has come under the spotlight once again.
Neil Rhodes was reinstated but a panel has announced that the matter will now be examined by a Task Group. There were angry scenes after today's meeting because some residents were accidentally excluded from.
Lincolnshire's temporary Chief Constable has released a video on the force's website - since his return from suspension from work by the county's Police and Crime commissioner.