In a recent development that has sent shockwaves through the Metropolitan Police Service Senior Management Team(SMT), Commander Julian Bennett has been dismissed for refusing to take a drug test.
An official investigation by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards concluded with an independent misconduct hearing panel finding Bennett guilty of gross misconduct.
Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray expressed her profound disappointment, stating, “Julian Bennett’s actions were deplorable. As a senior officer, his utter disregard for the professional standards that all members must uphold is inexcusable.”
Gray elaborated on the gravity of Bennett’s refusal, noting that the public would rightly be incensed at any police officer’s refusal to take a drug test, especially someone of Commander Bennett’s stature.
Drawing attention to Bennett’s extensive experience and his prior role between 2010 and 2016, Gray highlighted, “Commander Bennett, responsible for chairing misconduct hearings for numerous officers, knew full well what was expected of him. His actions have now not only eroded public trust but also diminished the faith our own officers place in leadership.”
The hearing panel was completely independent of the Met Police. Among its members were a legally qualified chair, a senior member from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, and an independent panel member. There was no police officer present on the panel.
Addressing concerns about the duration of such hearings, Gray said, “It’s hard to fathom why it took over three years to finalise this case.” She welcomed the Home Office’s recent review of police dismissals and expressed hope that it would streamline similar processes in the future.
Additionally, she shed light on the Met’s proactive measures, mentioning, “In the last year, we’ve emphasised accelerated misconduct hearings, especially in clear-cut cases, enabling us to take swift action.”
The crux of the case dates back to 21 July 2020, when Commander Bennett declined to provide a urine sample for a drug test upon suspicion of drug use. He was subsequently suspended on 24 July.
While he was found to have violated the standards of professional behaviour linked to integrity, following orders, and discreditable conduct, two allegations remained unproven. These include claims that Bennett smoked cannabis between February 2019 and 21 July 2020 and that he gave a false reason for refusing the drug test.
As a consequence of the hearing’s outcome, Commander Bennett’s name will be added to the Barred List managed by the College of Policing, prohibiting him from securing employment with any police body, including the Independent Office for Police Conduct and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
Want a front-row seat to the most gripping stories from the heart of the emergency services? Join our exclusive WhatsApp Channel now and be the first to get real-time updates, videos, and tales from the frontline.
Join our WhatsApp community!
ESN is now on WhatsApp, and we want you to join our communities.
To join, you need to have WhatsApp on your device. All you need to do is click the link and press 'Join community'.
No one will be able to see who is signed up, and no one can send messages except the ESN team.
Joining our WhatsApp channel is a great way to help support our work and best of all, it is free!
If you don't like our community, you can check out any time you like. To leave our community, click on the name at the top of your screen and choose 'exit group'.