Draw your own conclusions as to who's in the wrong here. While I shouldn't have said what I did, what I went through was beyond belief.
"You've had a complaint made against you for use of inappropriate language".
I am on the phone to the Special Commandant after a couple of months on the sick. That was not what I expected to hear when ringing up to enquire about getting back on section with the Special Constabulary.
After a pause I ask when, where, who and what. I then add that I was signed off with a bad back the day after training ended so I haven’t actually done a duty yet.
He replies "I don't know, that's all the information I've got. I'll get someone to call you back tomorrow".
Next day a Special Superintendent phones to say that she’s investigating the complaint and has 3 letters in sealed envelopes and is waiting for a 4th. One is from the complainant and the other three are witnesses.
After a long pause I ask witnesses to what exactly? She replies she doesn’t want to form an incomplete picture of things so won’t open any until number 4 is there to complete the puzzle. She promises to get in touch asap when she has that elusive final bit of evidence.
For the next 6 weeks I hear nothing about this. Every time I ask I’m told to wait and it is repeatedly pointed out that I still have my warrant card and am not on suspension.
I go through every incident it could possibly be in my head. I remember 999 calls I’d made, even before I joined the Fuzz and wonder if maybe I’d sworn during the calls. As I’ve been signed back on as fit by Occupational Health I assume not being called back for duty is linked to this.
After 6 weeks I ask a Special Inspector for a chat where I point out that as a volunteer my sense of social conscience is not being reciprocated by the Force I am so proudly devoting my spare time to helping. I add that the stress this is causing me is far from healthy.
I meet with the force Welfare officer who tells me not to resign, saying “if you go now you will never know what the complaint was about”. She sternly reminds me that this isn’t a laughing matter after I try to crack a joke about it all and then adds that my weight loss and lack of sleep are becoming apparent.
She then writes e-mails to the Area Commander, the Special Commandant and the investigating Special Superintendent asking them to bring me up to speed and pointing out the anxiety and stress that the lack of information and support are having on me.
3 days later I get a call to say letter 4 has finally arrived.
The complaint is…
While off duty at a house warming party for a fellow Special three months previously, an off duty female colleague went to the fridge for beers and didn’t get me one. I apparently said “oh, never mind me. That’s the second time you’ve done that you cunt”
The Special Superintendent adds that “with the exception of the foul language I would have probably said exactly the same thing as you if someone hadn’t got me one”.
Two weeks later I have to leave my day job early, go to the nick and put on my uniform. I then sit in a meeting with the Deputy Area Comander and a Chief Inspector to receive a Divisional Caution for swearing while off duty. I point out that I had been on painkillers for my back during that party and had been misadvised by my GP that they would not react to alcohol. I also state that I have no memory whatsoever of the incident and that no one had said a word about this to me prior to, during or after the complaint being made.
I sign the Divisional Caution (just under the bit which says “alcohol is no excuse”) and formally ask to NOT be told who accused me as I still don’t know who either the complainant or the witnesses are. I point out that the people at the party have all continued to be friendly. The Deputy Area Commander says the caution will be on my file for one year and can be read by the Deputy Chief Constable.
Some time later I find out that my line manager has had her responsibilities downgraded because of this. Force Senior Management are none too pleased that Welfare expressed concern for my health over the matter. Hers was the elusive 4th letter that they’d been waiting for and it was her who neglected to pass on that I had been cleared as fit for duty again. As ranking officer at the party she was asked if she’d heard me swear and her reply that took 6 weeks to arrive apparently simply said “don’t know, didn’t hear it”.
To this day I don't officially know who accused me but if you're reading this.....now you know.