Three senior police officers have been banned from the force three years after being accused of inappropriate behavior at a “drunk” retirement party.
A former chief superintendent, Mark Warrender, has been accused of “inappropriate touching” during the departure of a police chief, a disciplinary hearing has heard.
Warrender, temporary Assistant Chief Constable Marc Budden and Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth were banned from ever working for the UK police again.
The allegations against the three officers stem from the departure party of former Gwent Police Chief Julian Williams in 2019.
The hilarious farewell party began at Police Headquarters in Cwmbran, Gwent, before moving to a popular Cardiff nightspot.
But shortly after the party, which was attended by numerous high-ranking police officers, an officer filed a complaint of sexual assault.
The allegations led to the firing of the three officers after an independent panel found them true, but prosecutors decided not to press charges.
Although Warrender has already retired, the other two disgraced officers are now being fired from Gwent Police.
A spokesman for the force said: “Mr Warrender retired prior to the outcome of the hearing but had he not done so he would have been fired as well.”
The allegation prompted a joint inquiry by the independent Bureau of Police Conduct along with Avon and Somerset Police, with evidence also being sent to the Crown Attorney’s Office.
During the boss’s farewell, the trio were accused of having an “inappropriate conversation” with a younger colleague – and Warrender was also accused of having “inappropriate touching” during the party.
Officer Budden was charged with “failing to challenge or report Chief Superintendent Warrender’s conduct” in connection with the alleged inappropriate touch.
It is also alleged that he failed to “disclose relevant evidence and/or a conflict of interest” in relation to the same matter.
Budden is also accused of “behaving inappropriately on duty” and providing “various dishonest accounts of his conduct”.
After joining the force in 1996, Warrender rose to become Chief of Criminal Investigation, where he remained until his retirement.
Budden joined the force in 1993 and served as head of neighborhood policing, partnerships and unitary operations until temporarily becoming deputy chief of police.
Gwent Police did not say which of the allegations had been proven.
However, they confirmed that all three officers were banned after the hearing, meaning they will never be allowed to work for a police force in the UK.
Deputy Police Commissioner Amanda Blakeman said: “This finding sends a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated within the Gwent Police Force.
“The public expects us to have high standards of integrity, and where officials abuse their position of power, they will be held accountable.
In the last three years we have reflected on our behavior and changed our culture
Deputy Chief of Police Amanda Blakeman
The Deputy Chief Constable continued, “We have made great strides in strengthening the standards we expect of everyone in our service, regardless of rank.
“Every day, the vast majority of our officers conduct themselves professionally and honestly when serving their local community, and such conduct fails us all.
“Our focus remains on the needs of the victim and making sure everyone within the force or our community feels safe to come forward and report unacceptable behavior to us and that they are believed and supported.”
But the hearing, which is being held behind closed doors, has been slammed by Welsh politicians.
Natasha Asghar, Conservative Senedd member for South Wales East, said the hearings should have been open to ensure “total transparency”.
She said: “It is absolutely essential that the public has confidence in our police force and their full support in the hard work they are doing to keep our streets safe.
“So anything that undermines public confidence is a matter of grave concern.”
Another Senedd member, Laura Anne Jones, added: “It is clearly in the public interest for the public to hear the full facts of this case, particularly given the recent problems with the Metropolitan Police.”
However, in her remarks, Assistant Police Commissioner Amanda Blakeman said: “The Chair’s decision to hold the hearing privately meant that individuals in this case felt empowered to attend the proceedings.
“The crackdown on senior officials is a big step for colleagues and we applaud the courage of those who have come forward and participated in this complex investigation.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6163937/three-senior-cops-banned-force-female-colleague-boozy/ Three senior police officers who were disqualified from the violence after their behavior towards a woman at a “drunk” retirement party have sparked a misconduct investigation