WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 16 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Senior Met Officer sacked for refusing drug test

Senior Met Officer sacked for refusing drug test

A senior Met police commander has lost his job for refusing a drug test.

The officer involved, Mr Julian Bennett, had been suspended on full pay since the incident occurred in July 2020. Bennett was accused of daily marijuana use by a former lodger, Sheila Gomes. Mr Bennett refused to provide a urine sample and instead offered to resign on the spot. He also requested a meeting with Dame Cressida Dick who was then the acting Commissioner.

The incident was eventually escalated to a three-person disciplinary panel who investigated Bennett for gross misconduct. Bennett claimed that he feared CBD oil used to treat Bell’s Palsy would have triggered a positive result. The panel found the allegations of marijuana use unproven, but refusing the urine test constituted gross misconduct.

Assistant Commissioner, Barbara Gray, said that ‘Julian Bennett’s actions were deplorable. He was a senior officer and showed complete disregard and disrespect for the standards we must all uphold…The public will justifiably be outraged that any police officer, but particularly one of such a senior rank, refused a lawful order to take a drugs test.’ She further noted that, given his experience, he ‘could have been in no doubt of the professional standards required’ and ‘yet he made a choice not to cooperate.’

Panel Chairman, Akbar Khan, is quoted in the Guardian as stating the most likely reason for Bennett’s request to meet Dick was an attempt to ‘secure for himself high-level cover to deflect inevitable criticism and embarrassment that would come his way.’  The Panel considered whether the instant resignation attempt was ‘deliberate and intentional’ and indicative of ‘seeking a personal advantage or special treatment form the commissioner’.

Prior to the allegations, Mr Bennett had been instrumental in formulating the police force’s anti-drugs strategy for 2017 – 2021. A Freedom of Information request showed that out of 74 police misconduct proceedings that Bennett chaired, 56 officers were dismissed.