A regional daily has slammed a police chief after its bid to overturn an order protecting an officer accused of domestic abuse was refused.
The Yorkshire Post has criticised North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner Zoë Metcalfe after the Leeds-based daily’s appeal for refusing to comment on a decision to keep the alleged abuser’s name secret.
HTFP reported last month how the Post had been refused the right to identify the officer – who allegedly subjected multiple women to “unwanted, abusive, controlling or coercive behaviour” while he was in relationships with them – ahead of a misconduct hearing against him.
Post senior reporter Nathan Hyde, pictured, challenged the decision, which also means no members of the public may attend the hearing, but this has now been rejected by legally qualified chair Gerald Sydenham.
In an editorial about its appeal’s rejection, the Post wrote: “Policing by consent is central to British law and order. Making trust in police forces all the more important. Trust that is undermined by the secretive nature of hearings such as these.
“All it does is exacerbate the already growing disconnect between the public and police forces.
“What is doubly disappointing is the reaction, or lack thereof, from North Yorkshire’s police, dire and crime commissioner Zoë Metcalfe.
“She has refused to comment on the decision, claiming it’“wouldn’t be appropriate’. How can it not be appropriate for the police, fire and crime commissioner to comment. The post exists to scrutinise and challenge the police force.
“Given that one of her predecessors Philip Allott resigned after his ill-judged comments that women needed to be ‘streetwise’ following Sarah Everard’s murder, Metcalfe might be expected to show more interest in this hearing and a lack of transparency around it.”
In a message to readers on Twitter, Post editor James Mitchinson added: “Given everything police forces have been through recently, that an officer who stands accused of abusing multiple women can have their identity protected is a worry.
“More worrying is a PCC refusing to comment. We challenged the secrecy for you, but failed.”
HTFP has approached Ms Metcalfe’s office for a comment.