Select Committee on Home Affairs First Report



  (Example of officers subject to disciplinary proceedings retiring due to ill health)

DS Thomas Bradley, DS Ian Martin, DC Barry Porter and two others

The three named officers are currently in receipt of ill-health pensions, following their retirements, which took place whilst they were suspended and awaiting discipline proceedings.

In 1995, a wealthy international businessman alleged to Belgravia police that two employees at his home in Knightsbridge had stolen funds belonging to him and his wife. The investigation of the crime was allocated to DS Bradley who, in the meantime, was involved in an unrelated special enquiry which gave him access to police vehicles, staff and other resources.

DS Bradley made contact with the victim as part of the investigation. He also reached an agreement that he would arrange for the businessman and his wife to be chauffeured and 'protected' while in London-for a fee. When the family next arrived on a visit to the UK in October 1995, they were met at the airport by DS Bradley and a colleague, DS Martin, who held up a placard for identification. Mercedes cars were hired and a number of officers took turns to act as chauffeurs and bodyguards, including protecting the family at their home address and arranging an escort as they jogged in the park. It is believed that a sum of several thousand pounds was to be paid for the service.

The officers were suspended from duty at the end of November 1995. DS Bradley was to have been charged with the following discipline offences (no criminal charges were preferred);

1.  Failing to notify the Commissioner of a business interest (acting as chauffeur/bodyguard).

2.  Discreditable conduct by acting as a chauffeur/bodyguard on 20 occasions in October and November 1995.

3.  Carrying an unauthorised passenger in a police vehicle.

4.  Failing to record use of a police vehicle in the log.

5.  Driving a police vehicle for his own purpose.

6.  Failing to record details of a criminal investigation.

7.  Making false/misleading entries on his duty state-7 counts.

8.  Making false/misleading entries on his duty state-4 counts.

DS Martin was to have been charged with two discipline offences relating to his employment as a chauffeur and bodyguard and DC Porter was to have been charged with seven offences, similar in nature to those of DS Bradley.

All the officers subsequently reported sick, two (including Bradley) immediately. On 5 September 1996 the chief medical officer for the Metropolitan Police recommended that DS Bradley be retired on medical grounds. A further medical examination by James P Watson, Professor in Psychiatry at Guy's Hospital, took place at the request of the Metropolitan Police Committee. The MPC then wrote to the MPS on 18 June 1997, advising that the officer be immediately medically retired.

DS Bradley had first been examined in December 1995 by his GP, Dr Birmingham-McDonagh, by whom he was referred to his local psychiatric service. An examination was conducted and a report later prepared by Dr F Ghali, consultant psychiatrist. Meanwhile Bradley remained under the care of Dr E A Harvey-Smith, a consultant psychiatrist based at Orpington Hospital. Following a refusal to co-operate further with the MPS occupational health department Bradley was referred to Lieutenant Colonel Ian Palmer RAMC, Senior Lecturer in Military Psychiatry and, as previously described, to Professor Watson. Dr Wallington , the chief medical officer of the MPS also examined Bradley.

All the doctors concluded that DS Bradley was suffering from a psychiatric disorder. After the medical examinations and following a full consideration of legal advice, the officer was granted ill-health retirement, the decision being reluctantly taken that the MPS should not proceed with discipline charges. DS Martin and DC Porter were also granted ill-health pensions (in August 1996 and April 1997, respectively), although the MPS deeply regretted that discipline proceedings could not take place.

Bradley and Porter later appealed against decisions not to grant them injury awards, although Bradley has since withdrawn his appeal. In the case of Porter, the claim for an injury award relates to depression and anxiety which 'has been precipitated by his suspension from the police and the way in which it was conducted.' Bradley's claim related to an illness supposedly derived from events in 1990. Two other officers are still suspended and have been charged with disciplinary offences similar to those alleged against DS Bradley.

There remains real concern that individuals who are ostensibly mentally strong before their suspension, suffer severe psychiatric illness immediately afterwards and yet so quickly recover following their retirement, to the extent that they are able to function in demanding areas of employment.

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Prepared 15 January 1998