Cheshire police chief was volatile bully, misconduct hearing told
Simon Byrne ‘had a tendency to undermine people and ranted inappropriately at staff from lower ranks’.
The chief constable of a police force was a volatile bully who humiliated his staff, a misconduct hearing has been told.
Simon Byrne, who was suspended from his role at Cheshire Constabulary last year, is accused of breaching the standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct.
John Beggs QC, representing the office of Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane, told a misconduct hearing at Warrington Town Hall on Monday: “Mr Byrne, when chief constable of Cheshire, lacked self-control on a personal level and exhibited volatile, unpredictable and sometimes offensive behaviour towards subordinate officers and staff.”
He said witnesses described Mr Byrne as having a tendency to undermine people and said he would rant inappropriately at staff from lower ranks.
Mr Beggs said: “He would berate them on occasions. He was demeaning in words and behaviour. In short, he humiliated people.”
He told the panel, led by Rachel Crasnow QC, they may have to decide whether Mr Byrne did so on purpose or if it was just his personality.
Mr Beggs said: “An officer of his intelligence and long police service ought reasonably to have known that if you behave like that to significant subordinates, subordinates who are significantly lower in rank and status, you are likely to cause great upset, humiliation and distress.”
We are drawn to the conclusion you can and should fairly say Mr Byrne became a bully - he bullied people and he did so for no proper reason. John Beggs QC
He added: “It is not the case he was lazy, it is not the case he was unintelligent, it is not the case he wasn’t driven and ambitious for the constabulary of Cheshire. He clearly was.
“This is about personal behaviours and the impact they had on other men and women and whether such behaviour can be tolerated in modern policing.
“We are drawn to the conclusion you can and should fairly say Mr Byrne became a bully – he bullied people and he did so for no proper reason.”
The hearing was told Mr Byrne’s fixed term contract in the role had expired, but the panel would make a decision on whether it would have recommended dismissal had he still been in post.
Mr Beggs said many witnesses had felt intimidated and frightened about making complaints following Mr Byrne’s behaviour and would give evidence anonymously.
Mr Byrne, who has previously worked for the Metropolitan Police, as well as the Greater Manchester and Merseyside forces, denies the allegations.
The hearing is expected to last nine days.