Guilty of ‘serious misconduct’, but no apology from Yvonne Mosquito
Yvonne Mosquito’s role as deputy West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has come to an end after a disciplinary hearing delivered a verdict of serious misconduct against her.
Ms Mosquito remains suspended from her £65,000-a-year post and her contract runs out today.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson suspended his deputy in March and ordered an investigation into a visit she made to the family of Birmingham murder victim Kenichi Phillips.
The inquiry found that Ms Mosquito arrived at the house without first informing the family and broke the PCC rules by not telling senior police officers investigating the murder of her plan.
Ms Mosquito, a Christian Pastor, said she went to the house to pray with the family and had done nothing wrong.
But an independent panel found her actions amounted to serious misconduct.
In a statement issued today, Mr Jamieson said Ms Mosquito had been asked to apologise to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and to the family of Kenichi Phillips but had refused to do so.
Mr Jamieson said:
An independent disciplinary panel met and heard all the evidence, including a substantial statement from Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito.
I have accepted the findings of the independent disciplinary panel.
The panel found that the Deputy Commissioner did not make the Force or the Office aware of the visit before or after it was made. The work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner must not interfere with the operational independence of policing. The panel found that the actions of the Deputy Commissioner clearly interfered with operational policing.
The panel found that, based on evidence submitted by both Kenichi Phillips’ family and the Force, the visit caused ongoing upset and distress to the family and, at the time, damaged the relationship between the family and West Midlands Police in the middle of a complex and sensitive murder investigation.
The family confirmed that they were made to feel that the Deputy Commissioner was in their home in an official capacity as she left her Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner business card with them, and sought to raise a range of issues that were not pastoral or spiritual.
The family also confirmed that, despite being requested by the Deputy Commissioner to do so, they did not pray with her.
On the basis of the Panel’s findings, I have issued the Deputy Commissioner with a final written warning and asked her to apologise, in writing, both to the Force and the family. She has so far not done so.
I am sorry that a member of my staff, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, made the already complex job of the officers investigating this awful crime more difficult.
More importantly still, I regret that the Deputy Commissioner broke the agreement that had been reached between the family and the Family Liaison Officers on how contact with the police would be conducted. I am thankful to the family for explaining how the visit made a difficult time much worse, caused them additional pain and grief, and was disrespectful.
Again, I offer my deepest condolences for the tragic loss they have suffered.
Ms Mosquito did not attend the panel hearing after failing to agree on a date for the meeting to be held.
Her trade union, Unite, said it “deplored” the decision to go ahead in Ms Mosquito’s absence and would lodge and appeal.
Unite regional officer Brian Rickers said: “Unite did explain last week that Yvonne had asked for alternative dates as Caren Evans, the Unite regional officer representing her and who has detailed knowledge of this case, is on holiday abroad this week.
“It was Yvonne’s right under section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 to have the union representative of her choice to accompany her to a disciplinary meeting.
“Unite continues to strongly refute the allegations made regarding Yvonne Mosquito, which was the focus of yesterday’s hearing.”
It emerged earlier this week that Ms Mosquito, an African-Caribbean Labour city councillor in Birmingham, has lodged a formal complaint with the Labour Party National Executive Committee accusing Mr Jamieson of suspending her for “racial reasons” and running a campaign to belittle her.
The allegations are vehemently denied by Mr Jamieson.
It was confirmed today that the police commissioner will not appoint a new deputy.
Instead, he intends to recruit two assistant police and crime commissioners.
Mr Jamieson, who was re-elected last Thursday, is reappointing six non-executive members to his strategic policing and crime board.
He said the new assistant PCCs would work closely with him to help achieve his aims of reducing crime, recruiting more police officers, further protection of the PCSOs and introducing more modern and effective ways of working within West Midlands Police.
Mr Jamieson added:
They will be expected to deliver the highest standards of public life. Their combined allowances will be no more than the previous deputy PCC post’s salary.
Commenting on the recruitment of two assistant commissioners, Mr Jamieson said:
I want to see as many people as possible from across the West Midlands apply for these vital positions. I want the board to reflect the people and communities it serves.
I also want to see young people put themselves forward for these roles: the West Midlands is one of the youngest regions in Europe and I am keen for my office to reflect this and represent younger citizens.
West Midlands Police is one of the largest forces in the country – with a budget of more than £540 million and thousands of staff – and it needs capable, public-spirited people to hold it to account.
The two new assistants and six non-executive board members will be able to make a real difference in the West Midlands and I see this as a great opportunity to change things for the better.
All of the new roles will be offered as contracts on a 12-month basis with the potential for annual renewal.
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