A senior Cambridgeshire police officer who admitted gross misconduct after instructing a member of staff to pass topics to a candidate before a promotion interview should face a final written warning, a panel has recommended.
Naveed Malik, Assistant Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, was chairman of the promotion interview panel and had been providing informal mentoring to one candidate, referred to as Inspector A.
He told staff member B to use her private mobile phone to call Inspector A and tell him four areas to concentrate on for the promotion interview.
Police staff member B called Inspector A, began to list the topics for the interview process, and indicated that “Nav has just asked me to give you the topics”.
Inspector A stopped police staff member B, said it did not seem right and that he wanted to be promoted on merit from inspector to chief inspector.
Inspector A told police staff member B to “go back and tell (ACC Malik) that I didn’t want to listen”.
The promotion process was terminated the following day.
Mr Malik admitted a charge of gross misconduct by breaching the Standard of Professional Behaviour of Discreditable Conduct at a hearing at Wyboston Lakes Conference Centre in Wyboston, Bedfordshire.
Dorian Lovell-Pank, chairman of a panel of three, told Mr Malik: “Any officer of any rank, from police constable to chief constable, who aspires to and achieves excellence, should be entitled to call upon his service record at times of trouble and ask for it to be weighed in the balance in his favour.
“Here we have done so and we have your career and high standing firmly in sight.”
The panel’s recommendation for a final written warning will go before the force’s Deputy Chief Constable Alan Baldwin, who will decide Mr Malik’s fate.
Mr Malik is, jointly with two others, the most senior serving BME (black and minority ethnic) officer in the country, and his father was the joint first Muslim police officer in the UK, having been appointed as a constable in 1967.
In a statement read to the hearing Mr Malik said he apologised “unreservedly” and was “deeply embarrassed” by his actions.
Chris Daw QC, for Mr Malik, said it was a “momentary lapse of concentration, a single error of judgment, in the context of an unblemished and outstanding career”.
Mr Lovell-Pank, who described the case as “unusual, difficult and sensitive”, said the panel had considered a careful balance of justice to Mr Malik, justice to the reputation of Cambridgeshire Police and justice to the interests and expectations of the public in its recommendation.
He told Mr Malik that the “most troubling aspect” of the case was the lack of explanation for his interference in the promotion process.
“We have been told that what you did was an error of judgment as to the limits of the mentoring process and yet everyone else involved immediately recognised that what you did could give rise to an unfair advantage,” he said.
But he noted Mr Malik had co-operated fully with the investigation, accepted he was at fault and apologised to all those affected by his behaviour.
He told Mr Malik: “You are also one of the highest ranked Muslim police officers in this country and we and all concerning the case are more than aware of the esteem you’re held in in the police service and by the wider public, particularly within the Muslim and BME (black and minority ethnic) community.”
He praised Inspector A for his actions in promptly reporting the matter, and expressed sympathy for the “extremely difficult position” police staff member B was placed in.
He said it was “appropriate” that she faced no action against her.