Police Federation senior board members investigated over messages about killer cop Wayne Couzens
THREE senior members of the Police Federation board have been investigated over alleged misconduct in connection with disparaging mobile phone messages sent about killer cop Wayne Couzens (above) and his prosecution.
Simon Kempton, federation National Treasurer, faces a gross misconduct hearing amid allegations he posted details of an interview given by Couzens under caution several months before he admitted murdering Sarah Everard.
The Dorset Police Sergeant, a misconduct rep at his own force, has not been suspended and took part in policing of Cop26.
The federation is the main union for police officers which looks out for their employment rights.
Mr Kempton (above's) case followed an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) into the sharing of messages about Couzens' prosecution by seven officers on messaging platform Signal.
A Dorset Police spokesman said: "The issue subject to the investigation did not concern any Dorset Police business and was not communicated on any Dorset Police channel. The Force will now convene a gross misconduct hearing in due course in line with the IOPC recommendation."
The IOPC investigated if the seven officers from several police forces breached standards of professional behaviour in sharing the messages.
It was alleged that on March 13 Mr Kempton posted details of the interview, which were presented during a non-reportable court hearing, on Signal.
An IOPC spokesman said: "We concluded that the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct after we looked at whether the messages, had they got into the public domain, would have brought discredit on the police service and potentially interfered with the course of justice. We also considered whether there was a legitimate policing purpose in sharing the information.
"Dorset Police will now organise a gross misconduct hearing for the officer, who was on secondment from the force, for potential breaches of professional standards of behaviour relating to confidentiality, conduct, and challenging and reporting improper behaviour."
The IOPC said that evidence gathered during a six-month investigation also indicated that officers from other forces had joined in the conversation, "endorsing comments made by others and making unprofessional remarks about Couzens."
The IOPC investigation found no case to answer for four officers who were members of the chat group.
However, the watchdog found two other federation senior board members had a misconduct case to answer.
The IOPC found that Ché Donald (above) , federation Vice-Chair, had a case to answer for misconduct for alleged breaches of professional standards of behaviour for conduct, authority, respect and courtesy; and for challenging and reporting improper behaviour.
At a misconduct meeting held by Sussex Police in October the alleged misconduct was found not proven, although it was determined that the police sergeant, who was on secondment from the force, should "undergo a reflective practice review process in respect of one of the messages that had been sent and the tone of conversation."
The IOPC investigation also found federation National Secretary Alex Duncan (above), a PC for Avon and Somerset Constabulary, had a case to answer for misconduct for alleged breaches of professional standards of behaviour for conduct, authority, respect and courtesy.
On Wednesday, the force held a misconduct meeting which cleared him.
A federation spokesman said: "I have been told Alex (Duncan) has been cleared."
An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said: "At this week's meeting the chair ruled the comments attributed to the officer did not amount to misconduct.
“We take matters of professional standards with the utmost seriousness. We will always ensure appropriate action is taken where necessary to ensure the public’s trust and confidence in our officers and staff is maintained.”
In respect of Mr Kempton's upcoming gross misconduct hearing, a federation spokeswoman said: "As an organisation, we do not comment on ongoing investigations."
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “The allegations involved, if proven, have the capacity to further undermine public confidence in policing.
"They also once more illustrate the potential consequences for officers and come at a time when policing standards and culture have never been more firmly in the spotlight.”
All three board members were approached, but did not respond.