Met Police commander who called pregnant officer ‘f****** nutter’ says it was taken out of context, panel told
Ch Supt Paul Martin, west area borough commander, has apologised for his remarks about a pregnant female colleague, including commenting on her hormones.
A senior Met Police commander who described a pregnant female colleague as a “f****** nutter” and remarked on her hormones has apologised and admitted his “comments were not optimal”, a disciplinary panel has heard.
Ch Supt Paul Martin, west area borough commander, used the slur during a conversation with a colleague, which was covertly recorded and played during a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) misconduct hearing yesterday, Monday, November 1.
While other senior officers denied calling a colleague a “c***”, writing a “sexual” message in a female officer’s notebook, and saying they “aimed to make constables cry at least once”.
Four officers, Ch Insp Davinder Kandohla, Sgt James Di-Luzio, PC Karina Kandohla, and Ch Supt Martin, are facing accusations of gross misconduct over a series of allegations, which, if proven, are “so serious that [their] dismissal will be justified,” the panel heard yesterday.
The three male officers are accused of running a “boys club” which belittled female constables.
It comes as the Met is embroiled in criticism of its relationship with women, following the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens and the conviction of the officers who took selfies with the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.
Speaking at the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) hearing this morning (Tuesday, November 2), barrister Matthew Butt QC, who is presenting the allegations to the panel, told the hearing Ch Supt Martin admitted to using the words heard in the recording.
Summarising Ch Supt Martin’s response, Mr Butt told the panel: “He admits using the words in the recording.
“He said these words have been taken out of order and decontextualised.
“He apologised for calling the female colleague a ‘f****** nutter’. He admits that his comments were not optimal but denies discriminating against her.”
He is alleged to have acted as an assessor in a promotion process in which Ch Insp Kandohla was a candidate and failed to declare a conflict of interest.
In addition it is alleged he covertly recorded a conversation with another senior officer relating to a DPS investigation.
He is also accused of instructing a junior officer to submit a report with an allegation of improper conduct by another chief superintendent knowing that such an allegation was unfounded, conduct concerning misuse of a corporate Barclaycard;, and conduct towards junior colleagues during 2017-18, which included “discriminatory conduct”.
Speaking during the hearing this morning, Mr Butt told the panel: “Ch Supt Martin said he and Ch Insp Kandohla were not friends and that he was not his line manager.”
The hearing heard Ch Supt Martin denies any wrongdoing, and denies asking any officer to make a false statement.
Mr Butt said Ch Supt Martin said he was “concerned” about another officer and “decided to ask, not instruct or order, support staff to witness the call and monitor the conversation”.
He told the hearing the Ch Supt said he denies “setting an improper loyalty test”.
Mr Butt told the panel: “Ch Supt Martin accepts that he might have said ‘die’ in the context of mutual banter and humour.
“He apologises if the panel finds he offended any subordinates. He is unreservedly sorry. He said that maybe due to work pressures he might not have managed things optimally.”
However, Mr Butt also told the panel that the Ch Supt “accepts” the allegation that he used another officer’s corporate Barclaycard during a trip to Florida.
He told the panel: “He accepts that he used Sgt Di-Luzio’s card on the Florida trip [but] he denies knowing it was embossed with his name, and says it was a genuine mistake.
“He emphatically denies approving his own expenses. He accepts that expenses in Florida were inappropriate.”
But Mr Butt told the panel he did “not accept either of these capable officers could believe it was possible to take a card belonging to another officer and use it in the manner described”.
He said Ch Supt Martin and Ch Insp Kandohla referred to one another as “one of mine” and “baby brother”.
He also told the panel there were “many positive accounts” of the Ch Supt, but said these could be due to “favouritism which is highly damaging within a workplace”.
But John Begg QC, representing Ch Supt Martin, thanked Mr Butt for “acknowledging accounts that others speak highly of him”.
He told the panel: “A few people have spoken about negatives, some of which Ch Supt Martin has accepted, but there are many people who describe him as a role model.”
Mr Begg said it was possible “for this to be because of favouritism” but he told the panel “there are other conclusions you might come to”.
Mr Butt also told the panel that Ch Ins Kandohla denied any misconduct and said there was no conflict of interest.
He said: “Ch Insp Kandohla says the friendship was never outside of work.
“He’d never been for a drink with him or visited his house, and that the first he knew of Ch Supt Martin being at his promotion assessment centre was when he walked into the room.”
The panel also heard Ch Insp Kandohla was “quite upset” about allegations he had improperly claimed £2,081.48 in ‘Acting Up’ payments, when an officer takes on additional responsibilities, and he said he had never been an acting or temporary chief superintendent.
The panel also heard that Ch Insp Kandohla “denies calling anyone a c*** and did not use language of that kind.
Mr Butt said: “He said he did leave a message in an officers book saying “kiss” and “mwah” and “want you” but said that it was silly and not sexual.”
The QC added: “Having set out his impressive career so far, he denies any misconduct.”
Meanwhile, PC Kandohla, who is now married to Ch Ins Kandohla also denies any wrongdoing, or asking another colleague for help with problems her husband had at work.
The hearing was told Sgt Di-Luzio denies putting the expenses in as his own and denied any bullying behaviour and wrongdoing.
Mr Butt told the panel: “DS Di-Luzio says a female colleague is not being truthful about being laughed at when she made comments about it being a boys club.
“He denies saying he aimed to make constables cry at least once.”
All four officers deny gross misconduct.
The hearing, which is due to last until December 3, continues.