North Yorkshire Police says misconduct hearing for former officer will not be held in public

North Yorkshire Police has announced allegations made against a former officer will be examined during a misconduct hearing that is not open to the public or the press.

North Yorkshire Police has refused to reveal the date of the private hearing and the former officer’s name or rank.

The force said he is accused of providing a “misleading and dishonest account of his capabilities” to his superiors between 2019 and 2020, but it has refused to reveal the date of the private hearing and the former officer’s name or rank.

In a statement, the force said the chair of the misconduct panel has considered the need for transparency and other factors, such as “the vulnerability, physical and mental health and/or the welfare of witnesses who may be called to give evidence at the hearing, the physical and mental health and/or welfare of the officer and the welfare of relevant third parties who may be affected by the facts of this case”.

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It comes after former Prime Minister Theresa May said it is "immensely disappointing” that some police forces are failing to open themselves up to scrutiny by holding misconduct hearings in private.

The Conservative politician, who ordered all forces to hold misconduct hearings in public when she was home secretary in 2015, was commenting on an analysis by The Times.

The newspaper reported that figures obtained under Freedom of Information showed there have been 1,147 hearings since 2018. Forces were unable to say whether 502 of them were held in public or private, and of the remaining 645 hearings, one in four were held in private.

Writing in the newspaper, Ms May said: “It is immensely disappointing to learn that more than six years on (from the introduction of the measures), a number of police forces appear unwilling to open themselves up to scrutiny.

“According to the results of this investigation, too many hearings are still being held in private and the process of notifying the public of the results of those hearings is still worryingly opaque.

“It leaves the impression that the police, whose job it is to protect the public, are prioritising the reputation of the institution over the delivery of justice.”

She said the problem is not new but instead “a deep-rooted and long-standing issue”, citing examples including Hillsborough and the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

PC Wayne Couzens was sacked from the Metropolitan Police at a private hearing in July after being convicted of the murder, rape and kidnap of Sarah Everard.

At the time, the force said the need for transparency in misconduct proceedings was “significantly outweighed” by the risk of interfering with criminal proceedings in that case, and that chair assistant commissioner Helen Ball had decided the misconduct hearing should be heard in private.