Stuart Hyde waiting to hear if he still has deputy chief constable role
Published at 15:49, Friday, 30 August 2013
Only one thing is clear. Stuart Hyde, chief constable, career copper, wants to go back to work. He’s aching for it. Quite how, as what and when he’ll return are still unclear – and by no means easily achievable. But work is what he wants.
Even after the traumas of accusation, suspicion, investigations, secrecy and two suspensions from office – ordeals which have spanned a year – he wants nothing more than to resume his police service.
“I’m a policeman,” he says. “I want to work as a policeman. It’s as simple as that. None of that has changed during any part of this miserable experience. And yes, I am prepared to fight for that right.”
No surprise then that Mr Hyde, called on to resign or retire by Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes, will not be quitting today.
“No. I have no intention of quitting. I have been cleared of misconduct and wrongdoing by two separate independent inquiries. I will not resign. And I have no intention of retiring yet.”
If he were to heed the PCC’s demand for his head, it would have to be today he surrenders it. August 30 brings his contract as temporary chief constable to an end.
As of tomorrow he reverts to his previous status as deputy chief, putting him outside the jurisdiction of the crime commissioner, who has been barring his return to work every month since his election last November.
The latest suspension came only on Tuesday... to last three days.
From tomorrow Mr Hyde will report to another temporary chief constable Bernard Lawson, borrowed from Merseyside to stand in during Mr Hyde’s long suspension. Cumbria still has no permanent chief constable. And there’s no sign yet of the PCC advertising the vacant post.
But will Mr Hyde be expected to return to work on Monday, booted and suited as a deputy chief constable, as per existing contract? Hard to say – hard for anyone to say, it seems.
Does his suspension continue? Will there be a new one imposed by Mr Lawson? Will he be welcomed back into his old routine?
No one can shed light on any of those matters from the PCC’s office. Mr Rhodes, elected to offer greater transparency and accountability to Cumbrian taxpayers, has made clear he won’t be discussing the matter with anyone.
Neither can the constabulary’s media office illuminate any of Mr Hyde’s immediate duties – should he have any. And as for the man himself, the only resignation he acknowledges is the kind that forces him to accept there’s precious little reassurance regarding his future. Not much information at all, in fact.
Stuart Hyde dashed back from a holiday in France to respond to Richard Rhodes’ public statement that, in spite of the findings of two investigations having cleared the chief of any misconduct, he wanted him out.
Punishment on the basis of no case to answer. It wouldn’t have stood up in a court of law.
What a mess. The sorry saga which should have closed this week just got murkier, more muddled and even less savoury than when it started with complaints and accusations made against Mr Hyde a year ago.
He doesn’t know (or can’t say because of legal proceedings soon to follow) where those complaints came from.
“But I’m convinced it wasn’t from a member or members of the public,” he says.
In his statement Mr Rhodes made reference to senior staff having concerns about the chief’s management style, which may or may not be significant.
But it’s puzzling why it would not be possible for senior people on senior people’s salaries to speak of those concerns to Mr Hyde himself. Apparently that didn’t happen.
“It has hurt. Of course it has – deeply. But I have to remember there are people with bigger troubles than mine. It keeps things in perspective. Provides me with a focus. I’ve managed to contain my anger and retain my resilience and, I hope, dignity by remembering I’m not the only one with big problems.
“I heard or read somewhere I was supposed to have had a bullying demeanour. Mr Rhodes made reference to my management style.
“I am not and never have been a bully. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m not perfect but I’m not a bully and I’m not a corrupt cop. So, no I don’t understand why these complaints warranted a year’s suspension.”
He has a point about the nature of the complaints against him. In other walks of working life, they’d tend to be the kind that could and would have been cleared up in-house. A quiet disciplinary word from the boss, a ticking-off, one of those ‘that’s not the way we do things here’ talks, maybe even a note on his personnel record.
He’s said to have used Twitter too much, been out and about too often, failed to submit VAT receipts with his corporate credit card expenses, posted a photo of himself on social media wearing trunks at a charity swim, accepted hospitality without registering it.
Even if, in the policing world, those faults were deemed to be such desperately serious affronts to the integrity of the force as to require his exit, Mr Rhodes as PCC had the authority to fire him – and tell us why.
He didn’t. He still hasn’t. He’s called for Mr Hyde’s retirement or resignation and passed the problem of this troublesome chief to his stand-in temporary chief constable. The crime commissioner has washed his hands of the matter – and he refuses to discuss it further.
There’ll come a time when he may have to, though. Stuart Hyde is not going to creep away with his tail between his legs. He wants his name cleared, his job back, his career resumed. He will go to law to achieve that and Mr Rhodes will have no option but to respond. It will cost a fortune. And taxpayers will likely foot the hefty bill.
“I’ve already said I believe all this has been a dreadful waste of public money,” says Mr Hyde. “And there will be more expense, in spite of my best efforts to avoid it.
“I have offered to meet Mr Rhodes for mediation. I’ve offered also to meet those senior staff said to have had concerns about me. My offers have not been taken up. He just wants me out.
“By mediation I mean a meaningful discussion about how I return to work – not how I leave the police force.
“For personal, professional and family reasons, I want to continue my policing career. My wife and family have made a big emotional investment in this awful business. Without their support and that of close friends and colleagues, I couldn’t have coped.
“Professionally, it’s what and who I am. A policeman. And financially, retirement is not an option. I have a family.
“There are some who have suggested I should run for election as the next crime commissioner. That made me smile. The irony didn’t escape me. But I’d rather be a policeman.”
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
@John Hyde. Remember the big difference between your brother and Rhodes. People RESPECT your brother!
Perhaps it is time for the news and star to do a poll as to whether Richard Rhodes should retire or not. He has wasted too much time and public money and has too little public support to continue. I think it's time for a taxi ( or chauffeur driven car if preferred ) for Rhodes.
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