Essex special constable faked shifts and expense claims

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Essex Police headquartersImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Michael Chandler faked documents saying he had worked shifts he had never done

A former special constable claimed expenses for shifts he had never worked, a misconduct hearing was told.

Michael Chandler resigned from his role with Essex Police after claiming £192 for 13 shifts he had not completed.

He said he faked documents about shifts and mileage because he was struggling to complete the minimum hours required.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington found he had committed gross misconduct and said he would have been dismissed had he not already left the force.

Between 25 September 2018 and 15 February 2019, Mr Chandler made four false claims for work he did not do at all, and between 28 August 2018 and 17 June 2019 another nine for duties he did not fully complete.

Colleagues reported not seeing him on some of the shifts he claimed to have worked, and checks showed his radio was not switched on.

'Keep up appearances'

Mr Chandler, who worked with the Colchester local policing team, told the disciplinary panel he accepted he lied and that it amounted to gross misconduct, but denied he had done it for financial gain.

He said he had been struggling to balance work, studying, family commitments and other volunteering with his police work.

He had "a deep-seated sense of public service" and had only lied "to keep up appearances" until he could find more time, he said.

"I didn't want to give up the position of continuing being a special constable," he said.

"I know after completing my Masters I would have a lot more time to commit. That was my overwhelming desire when I do something; to see it to completion."

Mr Harrington ruled that Mr Chandler had breached professional standards of integrity and honesty.

He said his actions had "been deliberate and occurred many times", despite opportunities to raise concerns about his hours.

"Honesty and integrity must be without compromise for police officers to maintain trust and confidence of the public," he said.

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