MR X: Police facing misconduct hearings are having their identities withheld in 'too many cases'
POLICE facing misconduct proceedings have had their identities withheld in several recent cases, an Essex News and Investigations probe found.
Officers should only have their identity withheld for the most compelling grounds, a former detective claims.
It comes after several officers, including some facing domestic abuse and sexually-related misconduct proceedings, had their identities protected.
Legally-qualified chairs (LQCs), who lead police misconduct panels, can anonymise certain cases after hearing representations from the officer in question, but there are concerns it is being used too much.
On Friday (July 14 2023) it was announced that a Met Police officer facing misconduct proceedings in December will be referred to only as Officer A, despite facing allegations that he sent inappropriate images to a colleague.
Usually officers facing misconduct proceedings at forces around the country and named and the outcome of the case is published for at least 28 days on the force website.
However, one Met officer facing misconduct allegations around domestic abuse and coercive control in November will be known as Mr X, while another Met officer accused of sexual misconduct with a number of women will also be anonymised at a hearing later this month.
It comes after a Met Police police sergeant found guilty of being so drunk he fell asleep at his desk and another found guilty of sending derogatory messages to a colleague both kept their names hidden.
Last month the Derby Telegraph challenged an anonymity order for a Derbyshire Police special constable facing misconduct proceedings over a fight in a pub, but its application was refused by the LQC.
Steve Morris, a former Met Police Detective Sergeant, who helps serving officers with grievances against their forces, said: "During misconduct proceedings more of these anonymity orders are being granted, but they should only be allowed for the most compelling of reasons. They are usually given on mental health grounds so this should only happen if there is serious medical evidence.
The names are only usually published for 28 days anyway and the public has a right to know who an officer is if they have been found guilty of who they are.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has called for the role of LQC with police chiefs given the final say on misconduct, but he declined to comment on the use of anonymity orders.
A Derbyshire Police spokesman said: "Derbyshire Constabulary is not involved in the decision-making process and it is up to the LQC to make their decision based on representations from those involved.”