I have had the benefit of the papers in advance of today and read them carefully before the hearing started. I have listened to the case presented by the Appropriate Authority and have noted that TDC Bignall has seen the Appropriate Authority’s skeleton argument and did not seek to make any further representations.
I have carefully considered the documentary evidence provided, including:
- The statement from the forensic scientist, Ms Konstantinou at pages 28-32; and
- The two statements from Dr Carinus, the Occupational Health Physician at pages 36-37 and pages 38-39; and
- The forensic test result at page 40.
I have considered TDC Bignall’s account that he was using dietary products that he had purchased over the internet and that this might account for the presence of amphetamine in his system. I do not find this account convincing – TDC Bignall has not provided any details of the product and the level of amphetamine in his body was not negligible. On the balance of probabilities, I find that TDC Bignall had knowingly taken amphetamine.
In having the controlled drug amphetamine in his system, I consider that TDC Bignall has breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of:
- Fitness for duty – because, given the effects of amphetamine described in the statement at page 32 (i.e. to select a few, excitation, delusions and poor impulse control), he cannot have been fit to deal with the many scenarios and people presented in a normal policing day; and
- Discreditable Conduct in that his behaviour in taking a controlled drug is likely to discredit the police service and undermine confidence in it.
I have reminded myself that gross misconduct is a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour so serious that dismissal would be justified. Applying that definition, I find the matter proven as gross misconduct. TDC Bignall behaved in the manner described and in so doing put himself, his colleagues and possibly members of the public at risk. He can have been in no doubt that the use of amphetamine was not acceptable behaviour.
TDC Jordan Bignall – Outcome of gross misconduct hearing
Having considered the matter fully and having had regards to the nature and severity of the breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, my decision is that TDC Jordan Bignall is dismissed without notice.
I would like to explain my rationale in detail now. The College of Policing Guidance on Outcomes in Police Misconduct Proceedings is a clear document that sets out the stages of the decision making process. I have applied those guidelines and that process to my decision making today.
The first stage of deciding on the outcome is to assess the seriousness of the conduct. This covers the areas of the officer’s culpability, the harm caused and any aggravating or mitigating factors. The second stage is to keep in mind the purpose of the police misconduct regime. This has three elements:
- To maintain public confidence in and the reputation of the police service,
- To uphold high standards and deter misconduct, and
- To protect the public.
The police misconduct regime is not designed to punish police officers – it is about the reputation and standing of the profession as a whole.
The third stage is to choose the outcome that most appropriately fulfils the purpose given the seriousness of the conduct in question.
I will also consider TDC Bignall’s record of service during this decision making process.
At all times I must be aware of and adhere to human rights and equality legislation. That is, of course, part of my approach at all times as a police officer.
I have started by assessing the seriousness of the conduct.
In terms of culpability, although TDC Bignall has claimed the positive test result may be a result of the use of dietary products he had ordered over the internet, he has not provided any further details of these products in order for this claim to be explored and I have found on the balance of probabilities that he knowingly took amphetamine. He will have obtained amphetamine illegally. He was wholly responsible for his action and his culpability is high.
In terms of harm, as noted in my finding, I have reviewed the effects of amphetamine as set out on page 32 in the laboratory statement – to name a few, excitation, delusions and poor impulse control – and note that TDC Bignall cannot have been fit for duty.
The use of controlled drugs is very serious misconduct, with which TDC Bignall put himself and others in physical danger, could have caused great harm to the reputation of the MPS and fuelled a trade that causes harm and misery to some and criminal profits to others.
I do not find any further aggravating factors.
In terms of mitigation, because TDC Bignall has not admitted what he has done, I do not find the mitigating factors of remorse or acceptance apply.
I have noted TDC Bignall’s respectable record of service and that his BCU Commander would have been willing to retain him at his BCU. But neither of these factors is sufficient to outweigh the gravity of TDC Bignall’s behaviour.
In taking controlled drugs and reporting for duty with them in his system, TDC Bignall endangered himself, his colleagues and the public. He can have been in no doubt about the unacceptability of drugs use. He had the choice not to do this but he did not make the right choice.
I have considered the threefold purpose of the police misconduct regime very carefully in considering whether a final written warning could be an appropriate outcome in this case.
However, as I have explained, this was serious misconduct. It is entirely unacceptable for police officers, who are responsible for enforcing the law, to break the law themselves. Doing so undermines public confidence in policing as well as our reputation. The public could not have confidence in TDC Bignall to protect them if he puts them into danger in this way. Nor would they have confidence in the MPS if we appeared not to take drugs-taking by police officers seriously. And finally, a lesser outcome would not deter others from similar misconduct. And therefore, nothing less than dismissal would fulfil the purpose of the police misconduct regime.
Metropolitan Police Service
- Stats since 1st January 2022
93 Misconduct Hearings
86% held in public
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS / "the Met") is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement in Greater London, excluding the square mile of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police.