The Professional Standards department of Avon and Somerset Police have outdone themselves, falling far below the standards of decent society:
- Is it right and proper that PC Tony Ryan can be sacked even though Avon and Somerset Police can't prove he wrote these tweets?
- Can it be right that police senior can punish one of their employees simply because somebody criticises them online, hurting their feelings?
- Is it right to sack an officer for personal opinions expressed off-duty?
Is it only me who feels these police executives are too secure in their ivory towers? Many of them should probably be sacked, and their pensions removed, for their roles in turning the police service into a target-driven absurdity in the course of feathering their own nests.
I agree that tweeted invective like 'garbage' and 'slime' isn't helpful and doesn't contribute to valid debate. However, a few hundred tweets is only a drop in the ocean of Tweetspace. Every day billions of tweets are sent, many criticising all manner of things in society. If police senior officers believe anybody takes notice of a few that criticise them, they have a delusional high opinion of themselves.
These bosses will have to get used to criticism. They've certainly invited it. Their incompetence and venality give officers and the public good reason to be upset and there's little point sticking their thumbs in the leaking dam.
Avon and Somerset Police says the tweets 'undermine confidence in the police'. This is a misleading lie. There are numerous real reasons for the undermining of public confidence:
- Bosses terrified adherence to performance targets, in defiance of the Home Secretary's direct order.
- Bosses obsession with their own promotions,
- Closure of police stations.
But, the main point remains: PC Ryan offered his mobile phone, laptop and email account to his bosses in order to prove his innocence, but Avon and Somerset Professional Standards refused. They denied PC Ryan the opportunity to prove his innocence.
These managers believe themselves so far above the law – have they never heard of 'Unfair dismissal'? Any person in this position would be well within his right to take Avon and Somerset to the cleaners in an employment tribunal. However, there is an ace that police bosses always hold: cops are not 'employees', but officers of the crown, therefore we do not have the same protection of normal employees. Nevertheless, no court could surely hold that Tony's dismissal is acceptable?
Let's hope the Police Appeal Tribunal rectify this disgraceful situation, and cause Avon and Somerset bosses the embarrassment they deserve.