R (on the application of the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police) v Police Misconduct Panel and Officer A [2020] EWHC 1400 (Admin)

On 4 June 2020, the Honourable Mrs Justice Eady DBE handed down judgment allowing a judicial review of the decision of a Police Misconduct Panel not to dismiss an officer of West Midlands Police following a finding of gross misconduct.

The gross misconduct proven against the officer (“referred to as Officer A during the proceedings”) had involved racist behaviour and the use of racist stereotypes during a conversation with a colleague (“Officer B”). Officer B was accused of failing to challenge Officer A’s behaviour.

Neither officer had accepted their behaviour amounted to gross misconduct but the Panel was persuaded that it did. The Appropriate Authority contended that the only outcome capable of maintaining public confidence was dismissal. The Panel’s decision on outcome was to give both officers a final written warning.

The Appropriate Authority brought a claim for judicial review of the Panel’s decision on outcome in relation to Officer A. The grounds alleged unlawful departures from the College of Policing Guidance on Outcomes in Misconduct Proceeds and asserted that aspects of the decision were irrational. The claim was resisted by Officer A as an interested party.

Permission was granted by Mr Justice Chamberlain and the claim was ultimately allowed by Mrs Justice Eady. The Panel’s decision on outcome was quashed and the matter remitted back for a determination to be made by a fresh Panel.

Olivia Checa-Dover acted for the Appropriate Authority in both the misconduct proceedings and the judicial review.