Lincolnshire police officers in dark over suspension of chief constable Neil Rhodes
SHOCKED police officers are demanding to know why their chief constable has suddenly been suspended from duty.
Lincolnshire's new Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick gave Neil Rhodes the news on Tuesday.âNo reason for the decision has been given to the county force's 2,100 staff. It was a move that stunned Mr Rhodes's colleagues and the county's senior politicians.
Mr Hardwick, who has been commissioner since November, would only say the suspension related to "potential conduct matters" and that an investigation was now under way.
But Jon Hassall, chairman elect of the Lincolnshire Police Federation, said officers deserve to know the nature of allegations against Mr Rhodes.
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"What every police officer – and I am sure member of the public – would appreciate are details as to why Neil Rhodes has been suspended," he said.
"There are rumours flying about everywhere and police officers know absolutely nothing. Could this affect the integrity and reputation of Lincolnshire Police? We just won't know until we have details disclosed."
Mr Rhodes took the top role on a temporary basis after previous chief Richard Crompton retired in March last year. He was due to discuss his future in the force with Mr Hardwick at the end of next month.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney told the Echo he had spoken to Mr Hardwick about the suspension.
"Of course I have big concerns because the suspension of a chief constable, anywhere, is a potentially very serious matter," he said.
"I understand Alan Hardwick has not taken this decision lightly. As Police and Crime Commissioner he has the power to do that and he has exercised that power.
"He has been elected by the public and he will have to stand or fall by this decision to suspend Neil Rhodes.
"He will be judged on this come the next Police and Crime Commissioner election but after speaking to Alan he is sure he has made the right decision."
Reg Shore, member of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, said: "It is disgusting that none of the panel members knew about this or why this has happened. There absolutely needs to be transparency."
And Sue Bannister, 47, secretary of the Tower Action Group, based in Lincoln's east end, said: "The public have a right to know why he's been suspended – we pay for the police."
Mark Pearson, from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said the body hopes to make a decision as to whether it will launch a formal investigation into Mr Rhodes "in the next day or so".
Conservative county councillor Richard Davies came third in the crime commissioner election in November.
He said: "I know many people in the force and they are absolutely beside themselves. The whole county has been shocked to the core."
Mr Rhodes could not be reached for comment.
His deputy, Alec Wood, has taken over as acting chief constable.