90 days from today is Wed, 12 February 2020
22 May 2019
22nd May 2019
PC Paul Bridger
In May 2018 PC Bridger was acquitted at Crown Court for an allegation of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm following an incident in early 2017.
On 22nd May 2019 PC Bridger attended a Gross Misconduct Hearing for the same incident. The officer faced 5 separate allegations and the panel dismissed these, in full, citing a combination of both unsatisfactory delays in the conduct investigation and areas having already been dealt with at Crown Court.
The panel highlighted several areas they were concerned with and I am pleased to see that one consideration was the impact of this process on the officer.
PC Bridger has been subjected to a lengthy investigation which has had a substantial impact on his life, health and career. A managed return to work process will now need to be implemented with his welfare being the number one priority.
The current misconduct procedures are clearly not fit for purpose and are being abused up and down the country. There are far too many officers appearing in Gross Misconduct Hearings which should be dealt with by other means, including performance management.
Having the risk of dismissal from your employment hanging over you for two and a half years is completely unacceptable in any industry. Even if a Police Officer is not dismissed at a hearing, the mental trauma can cause permanent damage which can lead to the removal of another Constable from the streets.
We look forward to receiving the complete findings from the panel and assisting PC Bridger with his return to full duties.
Edit 24th May - To clarify the conduct investigation was conducted by Sussex Police Professional Standards Department
Health, Safety and Welfare Lead
Sussex Police Federation