Police officer sacked
Sgt James Boothby (49) had faced allegations in crown court of misconduct in public office over a vehicle sales and disposal contract in May 2008, but the charges were dismissed.
However, an Independent Police Complaints Commission-led investigation found Sgt Boothby, who served 28 years in the police, had breached the code of conduct for integrity and honesty and he was dismissed.
The allegations related to Sgt Boothby’s role as a vehicle recovery liaison officer for Lancashire Constabulary. The crown court deemed the matter below the criminal offence threshold and dismissed the charge in January, but the force took it up as a disciplinary issue.
The investigation examined a complaint against Sgt Boothby regarding how a contract for the sale and disposal of vehicles was awarded to a company run by his sister and brother-in-law.
Although there was no evidence of Sgt Boothby having a financial interest in the company, he did apply to the force in February 2008 to register a business interest in the newly-established company.
At the time Sgt Boothby advised this would be in relation to debt recovery and his role was likely to be as a director, providing free advice. This application was later rejected by Lancashire Constabulary.
However, Sgt Boothby made no secret of his plan to take a role in the company on his retirement.
During the investigation, Lancashire Constabulary’s disciplinary panel brought conduct charges relating to allegations of facilitating the creation of the company and pursuing a course of conduct to get valuable business for the company.
Honesty and integrity charges were also brought against Sgt Boothby in relation to his dealings with amendments to the vehicle recovery scheme in Lancashire. These charges were all proven.
A breach of conduct was also proven in relation to allegations he had inappropriately handled property recovered from vehicles.
However, allegations the officer breached a notice to restrict his role and responsibilities and divulged confidential information to a third party were found not proven.
Further allegations he showed inappropriate and aggressive conduct towards another contractor, falsified an invoice and had a personal interest in the seizure and sale of two vehicles were also found to be unsubstantiated.
IPCC Commissioner Ms Naseem Malik said: “It is clear Sgt Boothby’s conduct was inappropriate given his own position and his family connection to the company.
“It is sad 28-year police career should end in this way, but Sgt Boothby’s actions were found to be dishonest.
“I share the disciplinary panel’s view that one of the fundamental expectations we have of police officers is they display honesty and integrity. Sgt Boothby’s actions breached the trust the Constabulary and public placed in him and as a result he has been dismissed.”