North Yorkshire Police will hold its first public misconduct hearing next week - against a PC accused of wearing a woolly hat while on duty, with the legend ‘I love weed’.
The three-day hearing involving Constable Simon Ryan will be streamed live at the rural force’s headquarters at Northallerton.
Police forces nationwide have been forced to hold misconduct hearings in public since last year as part of a Government scheme to make them more transparent, and the order has led to a raft of high-profile cases in the more densely-populated police areas of West and South Yorkshire, and Humberside.
In the North Yorkshire case, Pc Ryan will answer allegations that he “wore a black woolly hat stating ‘I love weed’ or words/pictures to that effect. Despite being advised to remove the hat, he resumed wearing the hat whilst on mobile patrol”.
The Northallerton-based officer is also accused making handwritten notes on a document belonging to an occupant of a house that was being searched.
If found to be “guilty of gross misconduct”, he could face the sack.
An unnamed colleague said: “It’s a great pity that it was felt necessary to hold a disciplinary hearing over allegations which appear to amount to high spirits.”
He said: “Simon is level-headed and sensible, an excellent cop who has amassed loads of experience working in the Northallerton area for many years now, and one that you want to have working alongside you.”
The hearing will begin next Monday.
According to guidance on West Yorkshire Police’s website, misconduct hearings “are held to present the facts of the case and allow officers to give an explanation of their conduct and the circumstances surrounding the allegation”.
The guidance says: “The purpose of a public hearing is to show that the police disciplinary system is open and honest, fair and effective and that we effectively hold corrupt officers, or those that are found guilty of misconduct, accountable for their actions.”