Search
  • Admin

Statement from "SGT C" (Community and Race Relations Training Coordinator)



Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, has Hampshire Constabulary learned anything from my case?


The culture of fear and bullying coupled with racism and sexism also appears to be alive and kicking.


If the force treats its own staff this way how are the public able to trust or have confidence in Hampshire Constabulary.


The same issues are raised time and again in employment tribunals.





IN THE SOUTHAMPTON EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL

Case No.3100493/2008

B E T W E E N:

MR JULIAN ANDREAS PANAYIOTOU

Claimant

AND

1. THE HAMPSHIRE POLICE AUTHORITY

2. CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE HAMPSHIRE CONSTABULARY

Respondents


WITNESS STATEMENT OF JEREMY FRANCIS WHEELER

1. I am the owner and Managing Director of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXt, Hungary. I live at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I am a retired police officer. I served with Hampshire Constabulary from March 1978 until July 2003 and with the City of London Police from July 2003 until I retired in April 2008.


2. I have been asked to make a statement about my involvement in matters pertinent to this case, insofar as they relate to the attitudes and behaviours of managers in

Hampshire Constabulary at that time, and what might be described as the ‘culture’ of

the organisation. At the time in question I was the Community and Race Relations

Training Coordinator, based at the Force Training School, Netley.


3. I qualified as a Police Trainer in 1990, immediately followed by a three-year

secondment to the District Training School in Ashford, Kent. From 1993 until 1998 I

was an operational sergeant in uniform and on the Western Vice Squad. Whilst at

Portswood as a patrol sergeant I was asked to design and deliver a programme of race

relations training.


4. To equip me with the necessary skills and knowledge to do this I attended the Community and Race Relations Training Managers’ Course at the Specialist Support

Unit in Turvey.


5. At the end of 1998 I was selected to be a member of a team formed to deliver two-day equal opportunities (EO) courses to all members of staff. Because of my experience

and qualifications I was given additional responsibilities within the team and, when

the programme was complete, was successful in my application for the post of

Community and Race Relations Training Coordinator. I remained in that post until I

transferred to a similar post with the City of London Police, where I remained until I

retired.


6. As well as coordinating and delivering training within Hampshire Constabulary I formed an equality practitioners’ group and I was a committee member of the national

Police Diversity Trainers Network (PDTN), reporting to HMIC and ACPO. In the

City of London Police I remained an active member of the PDTN, organising their

annual conference in 2006, hosted by the City of London Police. I also acted as legal

advisor to the CoLP Black Police Association.


7. In addition to my police training qualifications I have a Bachelor of Laws degree and, as a post-graduate student at City University, London, have done research on race

relations training in the police.


8. My connexion with Julian’s case came about because Sergeant Tim Crumpton, a colleague on the EO training team who was Julian’s ‘Federation friend’ at the time of

Julian’s complaint of bullying and race discrimination by Sergeant Glen Cairns, and

Sergeant Cairns’ counter allegations, sought my advice and support.


Whistleblowing by Mr Panayiotou


9. Tim Crumpton assisted Mr Panayiotou in submitting his concerns in writing to the head of the Professional Standards Department (PSD) at the time who was Mr

Whiting.

10. Part of his disclosures concerned Sgt Cairns who had been demoted from Inspector for sexual harassment. On 21 March 2001 I had to make a statement regarding this

matter as a result of a request from our civil litigation department as one of the

victims had taken legal action against the force.


Inspector Cairns (Protected by the force)

11. I informed Chief Superintendent who was the head of PSD that Sgt Cairns had not attended the equal Opportunities training despite my informing his Inspector. I was

concerned that this was relevant to the ongoing employment tribunal matters at the time where Sgt Crumpton and DS Panayiotou were joint Claimants.


12.I suggested that Sgt Cairns should be investigated for failing to attend the training and that his pocket notebooks and duty sheets should be examined.


13. I am unaware of what happened regarding his refusal to attend Equal Opportunities training but at a later stage as part of a defence to the employment tribunal claims; Sgt

Cairns appeared to have been forced to attend the training.


14. On the 2nd and 3rd of October 2002 Sgt Cairns attended the Equal Opportunities training course which I was delivering. At the end of the course he said to me, I know

we shall be crossing swords in the future...” It was clear that he meant in connection

with Julian and Tim and I said that I thought it would be inappropriate to discuss it.

He agreed but said something like “None of this would have happened if I still had

my pips, I’d have sorted him (Julian) out”.


15. I thought it rather strange that he should know or assume that I was involved in this case as at the time I had told no one except Tim, my superintendent and Graham Love

from the personnel department that I would be making a statement in this matter.


16. With regard to the Police Federation in Hampshire I can say that when I had need of their advice I was not happy with what was said. I asked for clarification of my right

to remain silent when questioned and was told I had the right but “the Chief doesn’t

like it”. As a result I contacted a sergeant’s representative in the Metropolitan Police

who gave proper advice.


17. In my opinion, at the time in question: there was a culture in Hampshire Constabulary that discouraged complaints of discrimination; the Force would use oppressive and bullying tactics to prevent dissent; and middle and even some senior managers were not prepared to question the status quo. I base that opinion on a number of facts of which I had direct knowledge and list them below.


The reaction of the chair of Hampshire Black Police Association (BPA), Inspector

Karen Scipio, when Sergeant Crumpton sought her support:

18. I was present when he asked Inspector Scipio about getting help with the case. I cannot remember whether this was before or after Inspector Scipio’s actual

appointment as an Inspector but her promotion had certainly been confirmed. A

number of members of the BPA were present and Inspector Scipio agreed that

Sergeant Crumpton should get some support. She then qualified her remarks by

saying that anyone helping Julian should ‘think about their own career’.

19. This suggested to me that she feared there might be adverse consequences for anyone seen as supporting those who alleged race discrimination. It also indicated that even at the rank of Inspector there was little trust in Hampshire Constabulary’s processes for addressing such allegations.


Threats made to Sergeant Crumpton whilst he was supporting Julian:


20. Sergeant Crumpton confided in me that he was worried he might be victimised for supporting Julian. He told me that Inspector Mark Bell had warned him that Sergeant

Cairns intended to ‘take others down with him’ if he (Cairns) were to be disciplined.

Tim believed that this was intended as a warning to him because of his support for

Julian and asked for my advice.

21. I gave my opinion that Sergeant Crumpton should report it at once to Professional Standards, on two main grounds: it was possible victimisation by Sergeant Cairns (in

my opinion Sergeant Crumpton was doing a protected act); and Inspector Bell, by

passing the threat on to Sergeant Crumpton, had possibly neglected his duty to inform

Professional Standards himself.


The sudden change in attitude of Chief Superintendent Stevens in relation to the

alleged threats to Sergeant Crumpton:


22. With Tim Crumpton’s permission I spoke personally to the head of Professional Standards, Chief Superintendent Stevens, and informed him of the implied threat

made to Sergeant Crumpton by Sergeant Cairns, via Inspector Bell. At that time Chief

Superintendent Stevens appeared to be genuinely appalled and surprised, and he said

that he was of a mind to call Inspector Bell in to his office and deal with him for

neglect of duty.

23. He gave no indication that he was aware of any complaint already having been made about Sergeant Crumpton. He asked that Sergeant Crumpton submit a written report

about the matter, which he subsequently did.


24. Only a few weeks later Chief Superintendent Stevens spoke to me on the telephone when I was teaching a course off-site and now said that he had known of the

complaint when I had first spoken to him.

25. He asked me to return to Netley HQ to be present to offer support to Sergeant Crumpton who was served papers regarding a complaint made against him. He asked

me to find Sergeant Crumpton and contrive to be with him when officers from

Professional Standards arrived. He asked me not to inform Sergeant Crumpton that

they were on their way.


26. I found that hard to believe Chief Superintendent Stevens’ claim that he had always known about the complaint in view of his initial reaction. I also found it strange that

Chief Superintendent Stevens was disclosing a confidential matter about Sergeant

Crumpton, albeit motivated by a desire to offer him moral support.

27. I believe that Chief Superintendent Stevens was embarrassed to be pursuing the complaint against Sergeant Crumpton, that he was doing so on orders from above, and

that his disclosure of confidential information to me at that point was a matter of

conscience.


The disproportionate reaction by the Force to the complaint against Sergeant

Crumpton:


28. When he informed me of the threat made by Sergeant Cairns I asked Sergeant Crumpton whether there was anything in his past that could be used against him. He

told me that he could only think of one thing, involving an incident from almost four

years earlier.

29. He said that while he was a patrol sergeant on the Isle of Wight, he had been off duty with members of his relief, drinking in a police bar. During the course of some

drunken horseplay Sergeant Crompton had been ‘de-bagged’. He was lying on the

floor of the bar when a female officer came in and said ‘What are you like, Sergeant?’

He responded by exposing himself for a split second and saying ‘that’s what I’m like.’

The next day, whilst still off-duty, Sergeant Crumpton informed his Superintendent of

the incident, in effect reporting himself for improper conduct.

30.The Superintendent caused the woman officer to be interviewed by his deputy and she stated that she viewed the matter as harmless fun. No formal complaint was made and the matter was resolved informally, with the Superintendent telling Sergeant

Crumpton that he would not recommend him for promotion as a result of his conduct.


31. I was present when Superintendent Lawrence from Professional Standards arrived at Netley HQ and served papers on Sergeant Crumpton: the complaint was about this

very incident. I asked Superintendent Lawrence to note that the incident complained

of was almost four years old, that it had already been investigated by senior officers,

that the matter had been resolved at the time, and that in view of the close connexion

with Julian’s case, it was almost certainly an act of victimisation to pursue it now.


32. I do not know whether the Superintendent made a written note, nor whether any consideration was given to those points. Immediately afterwards I wrote a report for

Sergeant Crumpton, reiterating what I had said to Superintendent Lawrence and

adding that even if the Force were considering a criminal prosecution for indecent

exposure it was a summary offence and out of time, unless the Force was considering

a charge of outraging public decency. I also suggested that to pursue a criminal

prosecution at this late date might be an abuse of process.


33. A few days later I expressed the same opinion to Chief Superintendent Stevens in a conversation about the matter. When I was later shown the statement of complaint

from the female officer concerned I saw that she had begun by stating that she only

made it because she had been asked to my Sergeant Cairns. Had I been aware of that

clear evidence of victimisation I would have protested even more strongly on

Sergeant Crumpton’s behalf.

34. Some weeks later I again spoke to Chief Superintendent Stevens and asked him if the force was still pursuing the investigation as a criminal matter, bearing in mind it was a summary offence. To my utter surprise he told me that it was being treated as an

indecent assault. He went on to say, however, that the Force intended to use the

grievance procedure to resolve matters between Sergeants Cairns, Panayiotou and

Crumpton.


35. I told him in the strongest possible terms that I thought that course was inappropriate, not least of all because it was a tacit admission by the Force that the complaint against Sergeant Crumpton was linked to matters between Sergeants Cairns and Panayiotou. He said that as far as the Force was concerned the cases were linked.


36. The only explanation I can think of for this extraordinary course of action was that the Force hoped that the threat of prosecution hanging over Sergeant Crumpton would

persuade Sergeant Panayiotou to drop his complaint against Sergeant Cairns. Sergeant

Cairns would then drop his counter complaint against Sergeant Panyatiou and the

Force would drop the investigation of Sergeant Crumpton.


37.I subsequently made a statement in support of Sergeant Crumpton’s case against

Hampshire Constabulary at an Employment Tribunal.


My own victimisation:


38.Within a few months of making my statement for Sergeant Crumpton I was informed

that my post was to be civilianised. I did not consider that in itself to be victimisation

as there was a policy of civilianising posts in the training department and mine was

not the only post to go.


39. There were two aspects of the loss of my post that I did believe to victimisation, though. First, as far as I could ascertain, no police officer had been made to vacate his

post for civilianisation before the end of his tenure. I was told that civilianisation

would be effective as soon as a civilian replacement could be recruited. Second, other

trainers who had their posts civilianised were given an internal move to general

training. When I asked for such a move I was told that I would have to return to

operational duty and then re-apply if I wanted a trainers post.


40. At the time that I was informed of the civilianisation of my post I was approached by the Head of Training from the City of London Police, who knew me from my work on

diversity at the national level. He asked me whether I would consider applying for the

vacant diversity and equal opportunities post in his department. In view of what I

believed to be the reaction from Hampshire Constabulary to my having made a

statement for Sergeant Crumpton I decided to go ahead.

41. In effect this meant applying for a transfer to the City of London Police and going through their selection procedures. I was successful in the selection process and was

offered the post, subject to receipt of a satisfactory report from Hampshire

Constabulary.


42.Before I accepted the offer of a post, and before Hampshire Constabulary knew that I

was considering transferring, the post of Positive Action Officer for Hampshire

Constabulary fell vacant and was advertised.


43.As transferring would lead to considerable disruption in my personal life (moving my

family to a new house, for example) I decided that I would apply for that post and, if

successful, remain in Hampshire Constabulary. From the job description I could see

that I was one of the people best qualified in the Force to undertake the role.


44. I submitted my application and by the closing date I was told by staff in the personnel department that I was the only applicant. It was the policy of Hampshire Constabulary that if only one person applied for a post and that person was clearly qualified, then the applicant did not need to be interviewed. Knowing this I asked the personnel department to confirm that I would be offered the post.

1

45.I was surprised to now be told that there was a second applicant and that interviews

would now take place. I asked why a second application had been accepted after the

closing date and was told that the applicant had been on holiday and the deadline had

been extended for him. My suggestion that there might be others that had missed the

advertisement and that perhaps it would be fairest to re-advertise for further

candidates was dismissed out of hand.

46. My first thought was that senior managers in the Force were not happy for me to have this post and had rigged the application process to require an interview, thereby

allowing them to ‘fail’ me at that stage. Nevertheless, hoping that I might be

completely misreading the situation, I attended the interview fully intending to be

successful.


47.It was apparent to me from the very first moment that the interview board was not

there to dispassionately consider me for the role. The chair of the board, Chief

Inspector Terry Stevens, began his first question with ‘I know you of old’ and went on

to describe why he thought I was not the right candidate for the post before asking

why I was applying for it.

48.The other police officer member of the board was Inspector Scipio, who knew that I

had criticised her in my statement for Sergeant Crumpton. She asked me whether not

being a member of a ‘minority’ was a bar to doing the work involved in the post. As

the other applicant was a Sikh it was highly unlikely that he would be asked the same

question.


49. The third member of the board was a young woman who had only recently joined the personnel department. Her questions were confined to checking my knowledge of

relevant legislation and policies. Two of her questions were of note because of the

feedback they prompted. She asked me whether I was familiar with the duties under

the Race Relations Amendment Act. I answered fully (I was delivering training at all

levels on that very subject) and mentioned in passing that I tended to talk about duties

being under the Race Relations Act when delivering training, focussing attention on

the primary legislation.


50.My post-interview feedback said that ‘it was undiplomatic and unnecessary to correct

a board member on the law’. She asked me whether I was familiar with the new

regulations on part-time working. Again, I answered fully and added that I thought

they were a bit weak if they were really intended to get organisations to seriously

consider offering more part-time work.

51. The feedback on that was that I clearly didn’t understand the needs of the organisation. I was not surprised that I was not offered the post. Nor was I surprised

that the other candidate was not offered it either. He, as far as I knew, met few of the

requirements set out in the job description and, in my opinion, was there merely to

ensure that there would be an interview process.


52. In July 2003 I transferred to the City of London Police. In my exit interview with my then manager I was asked to say why I was transferring. My answer, that I believed

that I had been victimised for supporting Sergeant Crumpton was written on the

report for the personnel department that she completed in front of me. No one from

the personnel department has contacted me since that day.


53.This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Signed

................................................

JEREMY FRANCIS WHEELER 18th February 2012


© 2023 by The Artifact. Proudly created with Wix.com

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now