Lincolnshire police panel defends its role

Chief constable Neil Rhodes and police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
Image caption Neil Rhodes was suspended over allegations connected to a separate employment dispute

Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Panel has defended its actions in the saga involving its chief constable.

Temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes was suspended by commissioner Alan Hardwick in February but has since been reinstated.

Chris Cook, chairman of a special group within the panel, said he would like to know what could have been done differently after criticism from MPs.

The panel was established to oversee the new police and crime commissioner.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz described the saga as a "soap opera" after Mr Rhodes was suspended in February over his involvement in an employment dispute.

The details of the suspension were not disclosed at the time but he was reinstated by a judicial review and a report by Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable at Greater Manchester Police, cleared him of any wrong-doing.

Mr Vaz criticised the panel - which was established to oversee the commissioner's role - saying it had "failed to do its job".

But at a panel meeting on Friday, Mr Cook said he did not think there was anything else it could have done.

"I would welcome a meeting with Mr Vaz," he said.

"I would like to know what he would expect us to do whilst there was parallel proceedings in place."

He added that it was pointless to ask the same questions as a judicial review or Sir Peter.

Mr Cook is chairman of a task group which is carrying out an investigation into the panel's handling of the matter which it hopes to complete by November.

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