Northamptonshire Police officers 'let down and furious' about sacked chief constable's 'untruths'

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Northamptonshire’s serving police officers say they are in ‘shock’ and ‘furious’ about the ‘untruths and actions’ of their Chief Constable Nick Adderley who has been sacked with immediate effect for gross misconduct.

In Mr Adderley’s absence, a three-man independent panel delivered the findings that he had breached the standards of professional behaviour for his dishonesty relating to his service record and wearing of a South Atlantic Falklands medal to which he was not entitled.

Legally qualified chair Callum Cowx told the hearing the panel had found that the evidence against him was ‘overwhelming’.

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Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Nick Adderley found GUILTY of gross miscondu...
Sam Dobbs (chairman of Northamptonshire Police Federation Nick Adderley - former chief constable of Northamptonshire /National WorldSam Dobbs (chairman of Northamptonshire Police Federation Nick Adderley - former chief constable of Northamptonshire /National World
Sam Dobbs (chairman of Northamptonshire Police Federation Nick Adderley - former chief constable of Northamptonshire /National World

Northamptonshire Police Federation chairman Sam Dobbs, who had sat through four days of the hearing and summing up supporting Mr Adderley through the process, said: “To say that I was shocked to hear the chair's (Mr Cowx’s) comments would be an understatement. They shocked me, and I know they will shock our members, too.

"I am glad that the chair has reflected the integrity shown in most of our police officers while acknowledging the recovery that will be required from the ramifications of this case.

“I attended the whole hearing, one of only three serving officers to do so. I wanted to hear evidence and accounts first-hand.

“Many members describe Mr Adderley as the best chief constable we have ever had and one whose leadership is unparalleled. Others feel let down and are frankly furious about the untruths and actions described. I have no doubt that the content of the judgement will only intensify those feelings.

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“I previously described the hearing process as being tough, lengthy and gruelling in the interests of integrity and accountability. It has been tough and gruelling for everyone. We have heard some very serious allegations - now substantiated - about the truthfulness and integrity of Mr Adderley in relation to matters going back to 2009 and prior to joining this force, and many are staggered that these issues have taken until now to be discovered and scrutinised. However, there is no escaping the fact that all our members are held to high standards of honesty and integrity and can be dismissed for far less weighty misconduct.”

Mr Adderley had declined to give face-to-face evidence to the panel despite him attending personally for three days – a decision that has frustrated Mr Dobbs.

Mr Dobbs said: “While accepting today’s judgement, I confess to feeling angry and frustrated myself that, having heard the ‘prosecution’ case, we have been denied hearing Mr Adderley’s account because of advice from his legal representatives, given the unprecedented decision to hear these matters prior to a CPS decision about whether there are criminal matters for him to answer. I would advise our members no differently in the same situation, but I am hugely frustrated not to have heard Mr Adderley under cross-examination.

“Personally, I accept judgements against all officers with sadness and a heavy heart, in the context of the expectations held of all police colleagues, which are higher now than ever before. Breaches of Police Conduct Regulations and the Standards of Police Behaviour, in this case, have been articulately described and reported as being egregious.

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"There is never a place in policing for lies when our whole raison d'être is based on the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

On behalf of his members, Mr Dobbs reassured the public that officers would ‘do their best’.

He added: “Today, we have lost a police officer, but that has to be balanced against maintaining the trust and confidence of the public.

“Both our members and the public would be excused for feeling let down. As chair of Northamptonshire Police Federation, my priority remains the membership and the community. Members of the public must now be reassured that our members continue to do their best despite all the challenges we face and always set honesty and integrity at the heart of everything we do.

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“We will continue to work with the new commissioner, along with the acting Chief Constable and his team to represent members and negotiate and influence decisions which affect them and their livelihood, safety and well-being.”

Speaking after the hearing, Northamptonshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Danielle Stone promised to improve vetting of police officers.

She said: “I'm not sure that he did (slip through the net). I think there was a conception of what a chief constable would look like. I think he ‘met the bill’. For me a chief constable would look slightly different or a lot different.

"I would be looking for somebody with competence and integrity first and foremost so I think we need to have a competency framework to measure candidates by."

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Ms Stone reassured the public that it would not happen again ‘on her watch’ and she would go through paperwork for appointments but she could not say if previous appointments would face the same scrutiny.

She said: “It won't happen again on my watch, I can assure everybody of that because I shall go through all the paperwork myself and not leave it to anybody else."