Whistleblower takes Police force to tribunal

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A Police Officer who claims he consistently warned his superiors that vital health and safety regulations were being ignored is taking West Midlands Police to an Employment Tribunal.

The constable, James Griffin, claims that he was victimised for blowing the whistle about health and safety concerns and it has been suggested that he will tell the hearing that severe budgetary cuts had resulted in lax safety procedures at the force which put the lives of members of the public at risk.

PC Griffin is taking the force to a tribunal following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into how emergency calls were handled following the death of a woman.

The woman, who was staying at a care home for people with mental illnesses, was reported missing on 19 February 2012 by a member of staff and was found dead three days after she went missing.

The IPCC is investigating the way West Midlands Police handled the emergency calls that informed them that she was missing, as well as looking at the actions and response of officers to the missing persons report and a concern for welfare report.

It has been reported that Police Officers made contact with the woman on her mobile phone on 19 February and police logs allegedly indicate that she told them that she was safe, did not intend to harm herself, nor return to the home or reveal her whereabouts.

PC Griffin was interviewed as part of the IPCC probe and is the Police Federation’s health and safety representative.

A police source revealed that PC Griffin will be claiming that he consistently warned his superiors that vital health and safety regulations were being ignored.

The source said adequate risk assessment procedure was not being followed putting people at risk by the very people who were paid to protect them. Response time was also compromised because of drastic cuts in staffing levels and the whole control room set up was a series of accidents waiting to happen. The source also said that every organisation has a legal duty and is obliged to have a comprehensive and robust safety system in the work place, which West Midlands Police failed to do.

It has been suggested that PC Griffin has used recently drafted whistle-blower legislation to bring his case, which commenced earlier this week in Birmingham.

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