Lincolnshire Chief Constable Neil Rhodes suspension probe

Chief constable Neil Rhodes and police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick Neil Rhodes was suspended by Alan Hardwick in February but later reinstated

The decision to suspend a chief constable by a newly elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) will be investigated by a special group.

Lincolnshire's PCC Alan Hardwick suspended temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, but he returned to work after a successful judicial appeal.

Now the county's police and crime panel has established a special task group to look into the recent events.

Chairman Chris Cook said he hoped to prevent a repeat of the circumstances.

Neil Rhodes suspension: Timeline

  • 31 March 2012: Mr Rhodes is appointed temporary chief constable of Lincolnshire Police
  • 16 November 2012: Alan Hardwick, a former TV news presenter, is elected as Lincolnshire's first PCC
  • 25 February 2013: Mr Hardwick suspends Mr Rhodes. The matter is referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Deputy chief constable Alec Wood appointed acting chief constable
  • 8 March 2013: The IPCC decides not to investigate and refers the matter back to the force
  • 14 March 2013: Mr Hardwick appoints Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester to investigate the suspension
  • 26 March 2013: Mr Rhodes applies for a judicial review of his suspension
  • 28 March 2013: Mr Rhodes' judicial review is successful and he is reinstated
  • 30 March 2013: Mr Hardwick says Mr Rhodes' role as temporary chief, due to end on 31 March, will not be renewed
  • 1 April 2013: It is announced that Mr Rhodes will return to his post "in the interests of stability"

"This work will be thorough and we will be asking challenging questions before reporting back to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel later in the year," he added.

'Not a toothless tiger'

The panel is made up of 10 councillors representing the county's district and borough councils, with two independent co-opted members.

Its job is to oversee the PCC office's decisions, some of which - including senior officer appointments and the setting of council tax - it has the power to veto.

But it has been forced to defend the task group because it will only be able to make recommendations, and has previously been criticised by a government adviser for not taking a more active role.

Chairman of the panel, South Kesteven Councillor Ray Wootten, said: "We are not a toothless tiger. Though we have no power to dismiss the PCC, I think it would be a brave PCC who dismisses our recommendations."

Following the High Court case, Mr Hardwick said Mr Rhodes would continue in the role because it was in the police's best interests.

The reason for Mr Rhodes's suspension - over an employment dispute - was only revealed in the judicial review.

Mr Hardwick has commissioned Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, to carry out an investigation into the matter.

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