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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 7072
Experience:  I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
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If a police officer resigns to avoid either an investigation

Customer Question

If a police officer resigns to avoid either an investigation or potential misconduct, has the police authority the right or even the duty not to accept, or to defer a decision into, that resignation letter?
This is not a direct reference to Hillsborough but a general request for clarification on the law in personnel matters, brought about by the common practice of police officers to avoid any potential disciplinary action by simply offering to resign and management accepting the resignation.
If this is complex please refer me to any website which offers clarification.
Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 1 year ago.
Resignation or the offer to resign does not automatically end any current investigation regarding an employee.Generally speaking it commonly does, the employee does not want a stain on the record and offers to resign provided the employer does not refer to the little spot of recent trouble.The employer, presumably, does something else to earn money and would like to do that instead of having staff tied up in doing statements about this bloke's dismissal. Again they are, for their own reasons, willing to agree that provided the employee bugger off they will drop it.However, the employer does not have to and many do not. They tell the employee the misconduct investigation will be completed and that it will be placed on record. Any future request for a reference will be affected by the result of the completed procedure.I hope this helpsBest wishesMichael
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for that general comment, Michael, and I understand what may be in the interests of the employer and the employee, but I am not yet clear on the duty of the employer in law.Surely where there is a (probably documented) outstanding issue/investigation into the possible gross misconduct of the employee - a firing offence, if proved, with all the changed implications (including civil arrest) - then there is a duty to refuse to accept a resignation letter . . . ?In this, I assume that in any personnel contract of employment there are terms and conditions for both employer and employee. Therefore an employer may not be complying with the contract of employment if they do not execute their duty in law. If they do accede to a resignation letter, in full knowledge of other pending investigations into conduct, with possible criminal proceedings to follow as a direct result, then surely they put themselves deliberately in the sort of situation where this could be likened to deliberately leaving the scene of an accident . . . . ? Not an exact parallel but for consideration . . . !For any police officer, surely it is therefore wrong in law for a police authority to even permit their management to accept a resignation letter when any potential investigation into that officer's conduct is outstanding?It follows that if there is no standing written direction to officers to follow such a formal process when a resignation is offered, then the police force as a whole are (permanently) negligent in not having this standing order in writing, surely?If I am wrong then please give me chapter and verse on principles of personnel law (in which I am not an expert!). But if I am right, then it follows that the detail of the contract of employment for the police force as a whole is not as it should be, and any modification to police procedure currently proposed by the Home Secretary is another, potentially illegal, and probably deliberate, diversion.Paul Andersson
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****.The law cannot prevent an employee from leaving and , as such, there is no duty to refuse a resignation letter. However, the fact that the employer does accept such a letter does not mean that the investigation into the misconduct automatically ends and that the consequences end there.The investigation can continue after the departure of the employee and if the conduct is deemed to be gross misconduct can go on the employee's employment record affecting references and future job prospects.In addition, if the conduct is criminal conduct the former employee can be prosecuted.Where the investigation into the misconduct continues after departure the former employee is treated as an employee for the purposes of the investigation , asked for a statement, provided with documentation etc.Best regardsMichael