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Sacked drink-drive conviction PC gets her job back

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Force has to 'acknowledge' decision of appeal tribunal replacing dismissal with final written warning.

Staffordshire Police: Handed appeal decision

Staffordshire Police: Handed appeal decision

Date - 27th February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
16 Comments16 Comments}

 

A chief who promised “not to tolerate” an officer sacked for a drink-drive conviction has been forced to accept her reinstatement.

A one-day police appeals tribunal reversed a dismissal ruling for gross misconduct against PC Zoe Cullen following a special case hearing back in October 2018.

Yesterday’s PAT decision gave the Staffordshire officer her job back as a police constable, replacing her discharge from the service with a final written warning.|

PC Cullen's career was left in tatters after she appeared at Derby Magistrates’ Court last August following being pulled over in Leek in January 2018.

The 45-year-old, a member of Hanley policing team, gave a reading of 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – against the legal limit of 35.

The defendant had originally denied a charge of driving above the prescribed alcohol limit but dramatically changed her plea when she was put back in the dock.

She was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £1,100 in fines and costs.

A disciplinary hearing followed on October 17 where she was dismissed without notice and Staffordshire Chief Constable Gareth Morgan commented: "Officers and staff are held to a high standard which the public rightfully expect.

"It is clear this officer has fallen below the standard expected and the circumstances warranted her dismissal with immediate effect.

“I am extremely disappointed in this officer’s conduct.

“I will not tolerate those who undermine the integrity of our service and I want to reassure the public that any individual that chooses to do so will be held to account for their actions.”

Today, following the latest decision, the force told Police Oracle: “We recognise the right to appeal and acknowledge the decision of the tribunal, and Zoe Cullen will now be reinstated as a police constable.

“The tribunal’s decision does not affect the conviction at court which stands.

“We hold all of our officers and staff to a high standard as do the public we serve and this must always drive our conduct and actions.”

The force declined to discuss the case further and said it was “too early” to ascertain whether PC Cullen would return to full duties, and in what area of policing.

Last month the chief constable went to extraordinary lengths to explain why he was giving one of his officers the chance to “rebuild his life”– by keeping his job open when he has served his prison term

CC Morgan said the “exemplary” record of Temporary Sergeant Jason Bannister meant he would be able to return to work after finishing his 18-month jail sentence for causing death by dangerous driving of popular shopkeeper Balvinder Singh in December 2016.

The chief believes there were “exceptional circumstances” as to why he should ignore College of Policing guidelines and retain the services of the 45-year-old officer.

Following the outcome of a special case hearing, CC Morgan released a lengthy 1,180-word statement in support of his reasoning behind the decision not to impose a “deterrent value” in his determination of police regulations.

He laid particular emphasis on the fact that the public did not need “protecting” from the officer with regard to his past, present or future behaviour.

Temporary Sgt Bannister was the subject of misconduct proceedings after being handed a 18-month prison term at Birmingham crown court in November.

View On Police Oracle

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