A police officer has been dismissed following a disciplinary hearing.
Sergeant James Boothby faced disciplinary charges following an Independent Police Complaints Commission managed investigation into allegations into how a vehicle sales and disposal contract was set up in May 2008 when PS Boothby was working in his role as a Vehicle Recovery Liaison Officer for Lancashire Constabulary.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department investigated the allegations under the direction and control of an IPCC investigator.
Sgt Boothby, who has investigated fatal accidents in the county's Eastern and Pennine divisions which include Accrington and Rossendale, appeared at crown court charged with misconduct in public office, but this charge was dismissed in January 2010. This was due to the matter being deemed as not meeting the threshold for a criminal offence. The matter was then treated as a disciplinary issue.
The investigation examined a complaint against Burnley resident 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 from the force. At the time of the incident Sgt Boothby had 25 years service with Lancashire Constabulary.
In relation to an allegation about facilitating the creation of the company and pursuing a course of conduct to procure valuable business for the company, Sgt Boothby faced a charge of breaching the Code of Conduct for police officers in relation to honesty and integrity . The Lancashire Constabulary disciplinary panel concluded on Friday 8 October 2010 that the case was proven in relation to this charge.
Honesty and integrity charges, along with general conduct charges were also brought against Sgt Boothby in relation to his dealings with amendments to the vehicle recovery scheme in Lancashire. The disciplinary panel found these charges proven.
In addition it was alleged Sgt Boothby had inappropriately handled property which had been recovered from vehicles. The officer faced a charge of breaching the Code of Conduct in relation to property and this was found proven by the disciplinary panel.
The officer was also alleged to have breached a notice put in place to restrict his role and responsibilities, and to have divulged confidential information to a third party. These charges were found not proven.
It was also alleged Sgt Boothby demonstrated inappropriate and aggressive conduct towards another contractor, falsified an invoice and had a personal interest in the seizure and sale of two vehicles. All these allegations were found to be unsubstantiated by the IPCC managed investigation.
IPCC Commissioner Ms Naseem Malik said: “It is clear that Sgt Boothby’s conduct was inappropriate given his own position and his family connection to the company. It is sad that a 28-year police career should end in this way, but Sgt Boothby 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 that they display honesty and integrity. Sgt Boothby's actions breached the trust the Constabulary and the public placed in him and as a result he has been dismissed.”