Faruk Ali family blasts '˜totally unacceptable' misconduct hearing plans

The staging of a public police misconduct hearing 30 miles from Luton is '˜totally unacceptable', the family of Faruk Ali has said.

Faruk Ali
Faruk Ali

In December 2014 Beds Police PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office, after they chased Mr Ali in a police car.

However both officers are still subject to a gross misconduct hearing following an inquiry carried out by Leicestershire Police and supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

After protracted delays to the scheduling of the meeting Beds Police this week told the Ali family that public hearing will be held in Wyboston, near St Neots, from March 29.

In a letter to detective inspector John Cookman, Mr Ali’s family have issued their objections to the plan.

It read: “We feel that a round trip of 60 miles from Luton is totally unacceptable as it makes it difficult for the community of Luton to attend such a hearing.

“In the spirit of transparency, openness and building public confidence and trust, we feel that the community should be afforded every opportunity and easement to attend such hearing and do not consider the current location meets this criteria.”

It is only due to a recent change in law that the hearing will take place in front of members of the public.

Since last September police and crime commissioner Olly Martins and other PCCs from across the region have worked to recruit legally trained professionals to chair misconduct hearings.

However a senior officer from another force will front proceedings against PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts later this month.

The Ali family said: “Throughout the whole process (we) were told that the delay in proceedings was due to finding suitable legally qualified professionals to chair the misconduct hearing.

“We have no confidence that this misconduct hearing would be fair, transparent or unbiased.”

They added: “How can it been when you have a situation where the police are policing themselves?”

In a statement Beds Police told the Luton News: “The papers were served on the officers in accordance with Police Conduct Regulations which were updated on 1 May 2015 which means the hearing will be in public.

“However they were served prior to 1 January 2016 when further changes were introduced regarding the move to a non-police legally qualified chairperson. As such the new regulations do not apply to this hearing.

“All parties have been written to and are entitled to make representations around the location of the venue and those on the panel.”