July 30th, 2008

To let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

The culturally aware amongst you may recognise the title of this entry as the lyrics from the Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta "The Mikado".

Ex-Superintendent Chris Pretty of West Midlands Police may well be wondering whether his punishment fitted the crime.

The punishment was demotion to chief inspector, the crime was making an inapropriate comment during his leaving bash.

Supt Pretty was transferred from head of training in Birmingham to Coventry & held a leaving do during which he was presented with a toy BMW car. – he collects model cars On receiving the gift he joked "Oh, black man’s wheels". Two people complained & the force sent the case to the IPCC who promptly returned it (presumably becaus they didn’t consider it worthy of their investigation) back to the professional standards department at West Mids. At his misconduct hearing recently, he was demoted.

I don’t know what service Chief Inspector Pretty has but let’s assume that he was on the middle pay scale for a superintendent (£61,000) & had a further 5 years to serve. His punishment would amount to about a fine of about £55,000 plus many thousands more in loss of pension.

A force spokesman said: "West Midlands Police expects the highest standards of professionalism & integrity from its officers & staff & has robust procedures in place to deal with behaviour which falls below those standards."

Does the punishment fit the crime? You decide.

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  1. XTP says:


    July 31st, 2008 at 11:33

  2. Twining or Black in Blue says:

    Well, I am always up for a challenge. Does the comment fit the punishment. I have to ask, do we know who complained? Was it a do gooder?

    This should never have been referred to the IPCC. But, despite this, I am surprised that this resulted in demotion to CI. There are far worse allegations of bullying that managers get away with when sprucing the bullying up as modernisation.

    This was perhaps a naive and silly remark. I am guessing but the difference here, is did the CS say this with any malice? If not, then forgive him.

    Now we have a peed of ex CS roaming the streets. This is a classic example of Political Correctness. We know that there are worse case scenarious out there; this simply isn’t one of them. He stereotyped….at a retirement do.

    July 31st, 2008 at 11:52

  3. Tony F says:

    What crime? He stated a fact in a none public environment. I suspect it was an ironic remark.

    Perhaps he should have glassed a few of the guests, thrown up in the aspidistra, you know the sort of thing. A slap on the wrist and 20 seconds community skiving.

    July 31st, 2008 at 17:26

  4. Civ_In_The_City says:

    The man was guilty as charged and got what he deserved. I don`t mean the ‘black mans wheels’ comment.

    I mean he he committed the ultimate social sin and gave a rabid Guardianista a hairs-breadth chance to take offence on behalf of someone else. Said Guardianista chose not to exercise his/her own common-sense and judgement, but instead allowed the political-correctness indoctrination to kick in which determines that no hint of an offensive remark is allowed to go unpunished (if we are to achieve the societal perfection which nu-labour has in store for us no doubt).

    B.M.W., Black Mans Wheels, it`s a joke, a poor one, a wee bit iffy but not offensive and not racist. Yes, it may sustain a stereotype. Is that what the CPS plan to charge him with? sustaining a stereotype? What, no more mother-in-law jokes? Jail for sending up the irish? Do we arrest Frank Carson for having an Irish accent and telling jokes on the off-chance that some combination of that might be offensive?

    The bottom line? All officers have been instructed that if they don`t report a colleague for iffy comments they are in line for the same treatment as Mr Pretty. Watching them, watching us, watching you, watching them. (Or was that Game for a Laugh?).


    July 31st, 2008 at 18:57

  5. Bazil says:

    An outrageous over reaction.

    Expect more under of the same underthe new Stasi-inspired conduct regulations, where not hearing an offensive remark made in your presence will be no defence to a charge of failure to challenge it.

    Heaven help you all.

    July 31st, 2008 at 19:22

  6. Annette says:

    He did not deserve that, not in any way.

    July 31st, 2008 at 20:50

  7. Paul says:

    New ? Don’t I recall a couple of years back three officers being suspended for something like 18 months ; one for telling a dubious joke, and two for not reporting it.

    August 1st, 2008 at 11:13

  8. Civ_In_The_City says:

    Bazil said: “NOT hearing an offensive remark made in your presence will be no defence to a charge of failing to challenge it”.

    Can anyone find the exact wording of this in the regulations? I need to frame it and hang it on the wall.

    With the rest of the writing.

    August 1st, 2008 at 19:01

  9. Andy W says:

    What the Police service needs these days is some REAL leadership and for those aspirational officers who may visit this site this does not mean racing around frantically gathering evidece for the next promotion application. The Assistant Chief Constable and two Superintendents who made up the Misconduct panel that convicted and sentenced Mr. Pretty should hang their collective heads in shame. They won’t of course. Instead they will be rubbing their hands with glee at how absolutely spectacular an account of their involvement in this particular piece of politically correct nonsense will look on their next promotion application.I bet they can’t sleep with the excitement of it all. I feel desperately sorry for your situation Mr. Pretty and although this is of little consequence, the West Midlands Police ,by their actions in this case have deeply damaged their reputation and the view that real members of the public have of the beleagured Police Service generally.In the name of goodness when will ACPO officers show some real leadership? The Service is crying out for someone ‘at the top’ to say STOP! Why don’t the West Midlands Police show the leadership required and demanded and start the recovery by reversing this ludicrous sentence and re instating Mr. Pretty to the rank he is clearly more than qualified to hold.

    August 1st, 2008 at 19:04

  10. Dave Chamberlain says:

    My dad spent 6 years fighting the facists for freedom of speech, expression etc. They won in the end didn’t they?

    August 3rd, 2008 at 11:45

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