Investigation into Cheshire Chief Constable Simon Byrne was 'perverse'

Simon Byrne
Image caption Simon Byrne became chief constable of Cheshire in 2016

An investigation into a police chief constable accused of bullying staff was "perverse, unreasonable and unfair", a misconduct hearing heard.

Lawyers for Simon Byrne applied for the allegations of gross misconduct to be dismissed at a hearing at Warrington Town Hall earlier.

Staff have accused Mr Byrne, who was suspended from Cheshire Constabulary last August, of "bullying" and "humiliating" them.

Mr Byrne denies the allegations.

The officer is alleged to have "exhibited volatile, unpredictable and offensive behaviour" between May 2014 and March 2017.

Image caption David Keane has been Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner since his election in 2016

Gerry Boyle QC, representing Mr Byrne, said the former Metropolitan Police officer had never been informed he was under investigation for gross misconduct.

The barrister told the hearing that David Keane, Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), had presided over an investigation which was "littered with procedural errors and irregularities".

Mr Boyle said the investigation was "so unfair to the chief constable that not only would it be unconscionable to proceed with this hearing but doing so would bring the operation of police misconduct hearings across the country into disrepute".

Mr Byrne's lawyer told the hearing that the officer was never interviewed in relation to any allegation.

He added: "The approach to this case by the commissioner has been perverse, unreasonable and unfair and it's for those reasons we submit on behalf of the chief constable that this hearing should be permitted to go no further."

The court heard the PCC received a complaint from the Police Federation about Mr Byrne in October 2016.

Mr Keane said at the time he had been in post less than five months and had never dealt with a similar situation before.

He told the hearing: "I've always wanted to do things in a very fair, very open and very considerate manner."

The misconduct hearing is listed to last for nine days.

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