‘Depressed’ police chief to retire — (BBC News)

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BBC News

Tuesday, 8 February, 2000

Allegations against Andrew Timpson were made by police staff

A police chief accused of “inappropriate behaviour” by staff is to retire early on medical grounds after he was found to be suffering from a severe depressive illness.

Warwickshire’s Chief Constable Andrew Timpson has been on sick leave since an inquiry was launched into allegations made against him by police staff, last year.  Mr Timpson’s behaviour and comments on occasions were inappropriate and fall below the acceptable standards that one would expect of a Chief Constable John Rennie, chairman of Warwickshire Police Authority, said that given the “unequivocal medical recommendations” Mr Timpson should retire on medical grounds.

He said Mr Timpson would have one month to appeal against the decision but said the officer accepted the allegations made against him – although he has not been the subject of a disciplinary hearing. “Mr Timpson’s behaviour and comments on occasions were inappropriate and fall below the acceptable standards that one would expect of a Chief Constable,” he said. Sexual remark Five allegations were made against Mr Timpson soon after he joined the Warwickshire force in 1998.

In April 1999, he was said to have made a “crude and offensive” sexual remark to a female civilian worker.  Merseyside police chief Norman Bettison headed the probe In July of the same year, he was accused of asking a male officer to arrange a dinner date with a woman officer. Earlier, it is alleged he tried to enlist the services of a management consultant friend to assess his own performance and to instruct an officer to see that a candidate for the post of Chief Constable’s driver passed a driving assessment.  When a vacancy for the same job arose some months later, he is also said to have offered the position to a female member of staff regardless of whether she was suitable for the job.  Mr Rennie said Mr Timpson’s behaviour was totally out of character and was the result of stress and possibly the side effects of the drug Prozac which he had been prescribed.  The officer had apologised after the alleged improper remarks and over the appointment of the driver, he added.


The allegations were investigated by the chief constable of Merseyside Police, Norman Bettison, and submitted to the police authority along with a report from an occupational physician, Dr Lyndon Wall.  Dr Wall said the chief constable’s conduct came at a time of personal and professional stress. As well as being appointed to his new role in Warwickshire, he was also involved in a police corruption inquiry, Operation Lancet, in Cleveland. ”  All the allegations took place in a period after he was taking the drug Prozac and one of the reported side effects is a disinhibition of behaviour,” Dr Wall said. “Mr Timpson may have felt this and caused him to act without his usual inhibitions. At that stage he was quite ill. “What he did was override the effects of that thinking he would be able to carry on,” he added.