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Lincolnshire PCC promises apology to Chief Constable

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick said he will apologise over the suspension of Chief Constable Neil Rhodes — but only when he comes back from leave.

The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel has requested Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick to formally apologise over the “unnecessary” suspension of the Chief Constable last year.

As previously reported, the panel accepted its task group’s findings and recommendations into the PCC’s actions to suspend the Chief Constable in February 2013.

PCC Hardwick suspended the then-temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes over allegations of misconduct, with a judicial review, legal advice and report commissioning costing more than £165,000.

However, further investigation into the allegation cleared Chief Constable Rhodes of any misconduct, and a report by the panel’s task group said it is “unclear from the decision record and accompanying legal advice why the PCC felt the need to suspend TCC Rhodes from duty”.

Since, the PCC and Chief Constable’s working relationship has improved, the report said — with Neil Rhodes becoming the new Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police late last year after having the temporary role since 2012.

The Crime Panel then sent a letter to PCC Hardwick requesting him to apologise to the Chief Constable by February 21.

PCC Hardwick replied to the letter in a statement on his website: “I felt it was important to write to you and indicate that I fully intend to communicate with Mr Rhodes in the way you suggest.

“However, you may be aware that Mr Rhodes is now on leave. He does not return to work until February 24.

“I am sure you will agree it would be inappropriate to say anything publicly in Mr Rhodes’ absence. It is therefore my intention to delay communications until his return.

“I should indicate at this point that it is also my intention to respond to the report recommendations within the timeframe you have outlined.”