Police chief cleared on conduct, but urged to apologise

An independent investigation has found Northumbria Chief Constable Sue Sim has no case to answer on breaching standards.

However, Recorder Joel Bennathan QC, who examined complaints against her of breaching the Police Standard on authority, respect and courtesy, has criticised her management style and recommended that she apologise.

It was never my intention to cause any upset and if I did then obviously I apologise whole-heartedly.

Sue Sim, Northumbria Chief Constable

The findings come after a six-week investigation when Mr Bennathan considered written statements and oral evidence from complainants and Mrs Sim herself.

He said her behaviour did not amount to a case to answer over misconduct, and dismissed further allegations by one officer that she was in breach of the honest and integrity standard as “without foundation”.

But Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said that had the Chief Constable not been retiring, she would have required her to undertake training to “significantly moderate her management style”.

“It is a long-standing style of working which may have been typical in policing some time ago, but would have had to change if Mrs Sim had stayed on,” she said.

Mrs Sim announced last month that she would retire in June.

She said: “I am pleased that the independent investigation undertaken by Mr Joel Bennathan QC found that I have no case to answer in respect of misconduct or gross misconduct.

“I have always accepted that there have been times when I have raised my voice. This has always been about work-related issues and, as a result of the significant challenges we faced, my frustration at the speed of progress.

“It was never my intention to cause any upset and if I did then obviously I apologise whole-heartedly.”