Lincolnshire police chief Neil Rhodes 'did not act improperly'

Chief constable Neil Rhodes and police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
Image caption Neil Rhodes was suspended over allegations connected to a separate employment dispute

Misconduct claims against the temporary chief constable of Lincolnshire were "unsubstantiated", a report shows.

Neil Rhodes was suspended by the police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick, in February, over his involvement in a employment dispute.

However, an independent inquiry by the head of Greater Manchester Police recommended the allegations should be withdrawn.

Mr Hardwick accepted this but said he "remained troubled by the allegations".

Poor evidence

Mr Rhodes was suspended over his involvement in a dispute where he was accused of helping a former employee at West Yorkshire Police pursue a claim of racial discrimination which he knew to be contrived.

The report concluded there was no evidence to suggest Mr Rhodes acted improperly in his role as a Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA) "friend" to the employee.

In the report, Greater Manchester's Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, said he had "complete confidence" Mr Rhodes acted "from the best of motives" to try and "achieve a reasonable compromise".

He added: "The investigation team conclude that Mr Rhodes did not exceed the intended boundaries or scope of a CPOSA friend as he properly understood them."

The report accepted there might have been a conflict of interest in some areas but also suggested more clarity is needed nationally, on the role of CPOSA friends.

'Remains troubled'

In response to the report, Mr Hardwick said: " I had to take on a serious complaint that was made to me and the way I went around that, I believe, was the right way. I couldn't ignore it.

"I remain troubled by the nature of the allegation and that it has not been possible for the investigating officer to determine exactly what happened in a private conversation between two highly regarded and credible professionals."

Mr Hardwick said the suspension had never been a personal issue and a judicial review had cost him £37,500, alone.

In a statement, Mr Rhodes said: "I have sought over the last six months to maintain a dignified silence, safe in the knowledge that I knew there was never any substance in the spurious allegation.

"The past few months have been unusually challenging. Following the judicial review decision, the commissioner and I resolved that we must draw a line beneath this matter, for the good of Lincolnshire, and demonstrate we could work together productively and positively."

He said he now intended to apply for the permanent chief constable post when it is advertised.

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