Capenhurst Five whistleblowers vindicated for speaking out on health & safety concerns within the Civil Nuclear Constabulary

An Employment Tribunal has found the Civil Nuclear Constabulary guilty of discrimination against five officers who complained that due to their age and fitness, it was unsafe for them to be deployed as Authorised Firearm Officers (AFOs).

Charles Shone, Harry Shone, Morgan Tudor, Steven Collins and Peter Jones were police officers in their fifties at Capenhurst, Cheshire who argued that being moved to another site and conducting full time AFO duties was unsafe.

The Constabulary failed to adequately investigate the officers’ concerns or to apply the Constabulary’s own procedures for dealing with such a situation. The tribunal found the Constabulary discriminated against and unfairly dismissed the officers, by demanding that they retract the allegations or faced being dismissed. The tribunal rejected the constabulary’s suggestion that the officers had “resigned” and found that the officers were not contractually obliged to carry firearms.

The tribunal also rejected the Constabulary’s case of collusion between the officers and found all of the officers’ accounts of the problems they faced as being truthful and credible.

A remedy hearing will take place in August 2014.

Their solicitor, Binder Bansel of Pattinson & Brewer commented  “These five officers took the brave step of telling their employer that it was not safe for them to regularly deploy with a firearm, knowing that this could have affected their future career prospects. The tribunal’s findings are damming and make clear that the Constabulary’s action were a deliberate and concerted attempt to dissuade these officers from raising health and safety concerns.”

Charles Shone, Harry Shone, Morgan Tudor, Steven Collins and Peter Jones are members of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation who supported their claims of whistle-blowing and age discrimination and victimisation. After hearing of the judgment, Nigel Dennis, chief executive said “The Federation is here to support all our officers and we are very pleased with the outcome. We expect all of our members to be treated fairly and to be supported by the Constabulary when it is not safe for our members to be deployed in a particular role. The Constabulary’s suggestion that it was safe for these officers to be deployed created an unacceptable health and safety issue for these officers, their colleagues and the public. The almost complete lack of the agreed policies being applied is particularly disappointing; these officers were let down by the Constabulary.”

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