Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel has criticised Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones for attacking their integrity during an investigation into his recruitment process.
The panel met on Thursday and discussed the findings of Operation Motala, which scrutinised his recruitment of the Chief Constable, writes Daniel Jaines.
The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) stated his actions “did not meet the threshold to be considered wilful misconduct” nor were they appropriate to be considered by a criminal court.
However, it said: “Having carefully reviewed the evidence, the decision-maker [investigator] concluded that Mr Jones did not always adhere to the guiding principles of fairness, openness, and merit at all times during the process, and moreover, at times, his decisions were directly in conflict with these principles.”
The Police and Crime Panel itself, however, was mainly frustrated by a series of comments made by Mr Jones in response to the investigation.
These included threats of legal action, accusations of the PCP wasting public resources, and telling the committee that “any residual confidence and trust he had in the PCP’s direction and leadership had ‘ebbed away’, and would be hard to rebuild due to the PCP’s ‘wasteful and perplexing course of action’.”
Mr Jones had called on the PCP investigation to “review the actions of the Panel and its Chairman”, and complained about the PCP’s “selective” and “cloak and dagger” approach.
He also publicly tweeted: “PCPs in their current form are worse than a waste of money; they are a negative drain on resources. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be better.’
“PCPs are, in my experience, a costly waste of time and a massive distraction from delivering quality service for the public.’
“We are accountable to the public at the ballot box, the police authority didn’t have a PCP. We need a standardised structure for mediation with chiefs, but the rest is political. The Panel is a pointless distraction.”
Councillors were clearly angered by the comments Mr Jones had made.
Chairman Chris Cook, part of the group which originally launched the investigation, said: “I think, as chairman of this panel, that our PCC has been subject to a high standard of scrutiny, and that’s why we’re here today.”
Members noted the findings of the report and made several recommendations, including seeking assurance that the forthcoming recruitment process following the departure of Chief Constable Chris Haward would be fair, open, and merit-based.