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EXCLUSIVE: Top Met Police cop who was in charge of biggest ever recruitment drive accused of giving 'love interest' push up career ladder

July 28, 2020

A TOP Met Police officer, who was awarded an MBE and led the force's ongoing major recruitment drive, has been accused of giving preferential treatment to a love interest to get her promoted up the ranks of the force.

A police misconduct probe into allegations about Chief Superintendent Robert Atkin MBE (pictured above), who has been with the force more than 26 years, began in London on Monday.

It centres around claims he used his position to "promote the professional development" of the WPC who he started out mentoring.

He is also accused of allowing her to see confidential assessment papers she was due to sit as part of a fast track promotion assessment in order to give her an unfair advantage over colleagues.

It is also alleged that he failed to declare the relationship to his line manager and that this presented a conflict of interest due to his role.

Forces across the country are currently seeking to recruit a combined total of 20,000 officers to beef up their numbers over the next three years after the cuts from 2010 saw numbers reduced by around that level.

Mr Atkin led the recruitment drive, launched by Boris Johnson last summer, until May when he was transferred to be borough commander of the force's South East Command Unit. 

He has been on restricted duties since June 2018 when the allegations surfaced.

In November 2019 he was quoted in an article on the Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL) website as "leading police officer recruitment for the Metropolitan Police."

SSCL is an organisation that works with public sector bodies to "lead transformation in the public sector."

In the article last year he was quoted as saying that "engagement with existing officers is critical in showcasing policing opportunities."

He also urged fellow recruiters to "question the status quo," saying "just because we have always done something does not mean it cannot be changed – particularly when it comes to policy."

According to a notice issued by the force ahead of the five-day hearing expected to end on Friday, Mr Atkin will answer allegations that his conduct amounts to a breach of the force's standards of professional behaviour, in respect of authority, respect and courtesy, honesty and integrity and confidentiality.

The notice said that in October 2015 Mr Atkin was appointed as mentor to the constable who had been put forward as a candidate for accelerated promotion.

It claims that between August 2017 and May 2018 "the relationship became personal" and that during this time "he sought to use his position to promote her professional development."

The notice added: "He failed to make full disclosure of his relationship to line management."While assisting in the 2018 fast track promotion assessments, Chief Superintendent Robert Atkin MBE was sent confidential assessment papers and a list of candidates for the assessment."

It is alleged that he failed to disclose that the constable he was in a personal relationship with was on the list of candidates and failed to declare a conflict of interest."He showed her the assessment papers with the intention of providing her with an unfair advantage."

According to the notice the matters amount to gross misconduct.

Mr Atkin was awarded an MBE in June 2014 for For services to the Care of Police Survivors charity which supports the families of police officers who are killed in the line of duty.

A Met Police spokesman said: "The restrictions do not affect his operational duties which he is able to carry out fully.

"Being on restricted duties does not automatically prevent officers from moving post. Each case is considered individually. Restrictions are regularly reviewed to ensure they remain appropriate.

"Det Ch Supt Tara McGovern leads recruitment, taking over from Ch Supt Atkin when he moved to the BCU."

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