Surrey Police Deputy Chief Constable steps down after hearing he has a case to answer for misconduct
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Jeremy Burton, Surrey Police’s Deputy Chief Constable has formally stepped down from his position and taken retirement following a decision by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) that he had a case to answer for misconduct.
This follows a voluntary referral made by the Force to the IOPC in the summer of last year in relation to two officers.
Mr Burton’s decision does mean that neither he nor Surrey Police will hear the findings of a misconduct meeting which would have been held by an independent legally qualified chair. The highest sanction that can be given to officers facing misconduct is a final written warning. Under separate legislation, due to Mr Burton’s rank as a Chief Officer, a Chief Constable can require the officer to resign or retire.
Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “In my view, Mr Burton’s behaviour fell short of the standards that are expected of a police officer and as a Chief Officer. I am disappointed that he let himself, his colleagues and our communities down.
“This has been a difficult case, and I am satisfied that this is a proportionate outcome, recognising the severity level, and that Mr Burton will no longer be serving as a police officer, which brings an end to what has otherwise been a distinguished 31 year career.
“In taking our policing oath we commit to uphold a code of ethics and high standards of professional behaviour, in order to maintain public confidence in policing. The excellent work of our professional standards team and the IOPC, has ensured that those that fail to behave appropriately in the workplace, regardless of rank, will be held to account in a fair way, against those high standards.
“I do not want this case to detract in any way from the excellent work done by officers, staff and volunteers across our county every single day, and although this was an internal matter and did not impact on the Surrey public, it is no way representative of those working for the Force. Surrey Police is an organisation with high standards, which offers rewarding careers for those committed to public service. ”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro added: “I have been kept updated on developments by the Chief Constable over recent months and I share his disappointment that Mr Burton’s behaviour has unfortunately tarnished the reputation of the many hard-working officers and staff within Surrey Police.
“The Force’s Professional Standards team acted swiftly in initiating the investigation into this matter which has been independently led by the IOPC to ensure complete transparency. Ultimately we have the right outcome and I fully support his view that had Mr Burton not stepped down, his resignation or retirement would have rightly been required.
“The public of Surrey deserve better and I’m confident the Chief Constable can re-establish his top team to build on the good work happening across the Force to keep Surrey safe.”
The other officer involved received a final written warning after admitting to two conduct matters at a private meeting held on Friday 14 February.