Officer sacked for refusing drugs test was paid £400k while suspended

Senior Met Police officer sacked for refusing to take cannabis test was paid £400,000 while suspended during three-year disciplinary saga that cost more than £1.5 million

  • Julian Bennett was one of 600 accused of misconduct and suspended on full pay

A senior policeman sacked this week for gross misconduct was paid more than £400,000 while suspended on full pay during a three-year disciplinary saga that cost more than £1.5million.

Commander Julian Bennett, who wrote Scotland Yard’s anti-drugs strategy, was found by a disciplinary panel to have refused a drug test and sought special treatment from the commissioner.

He had been accused of taking cannabis ‘every morning’ before work and had been due to face proceedings in February last year but the panel hearing was postponed at the last moment at the request of his lawyers, before a series of further delays.

Bennett refused to take the drug test on July 21, 2020, but was sacked only on Tuesday night after spending three years collecting his salary of about £136,000.

Commander Julian Bennett pictured at Trafalgar Square during a vigil, March 23, 2017 (left) and outside a Metropolitan Police misconduct hearing at Palestra House, July 31, 2023

Julian Bennett at a Police misconduct hearing over three allegations of discreditable conduct

The panel cleared Bennett, 64, who has served in the force since 1976, of using the drug at home, but found he had breached force standards for honesty and integrity, and accused him of discreditable conduct by refusing to provide a urine sample.

A former officer with intimate knowledge of the case said the fact that such a senior figure had been able to delay proceedings so long while continuing to take his salary risked accusations of a ‘two-tiered system’, adding: ‘We don’t see this sort of thing with lower level officers accused of misconduct.’

Bennett earned the nickname ‘Sacker’ for his hardline approach to misconduct hearings. When allegations about taking cannabis and LSD first emerged, he offered his resignation but this was rejected.

He had been reported by his former lodger Sheila Gomes. He refused to provide a urine sample, claiming that his use of legal Cannabidiol to treat facial palsy would result in a ‘false positive’. He asked a colleague to request that then commissioner Cressida Dick accept his resignation, leading to claims of a ‘cover-up’.

The Mail revealed in August that he had been one of 600 officers across 43 forces accused of misconduct and suspended on full pay – at a cost of £1.6million a month.

The Met insisted it was making greater use of accelerated misconduct hearings.

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