A police officer has been dismissed for twice providing a candidate with confidential information during a promotion assessment.
A disciplinary hearing at Greater Manchester Police’s headquarters found the actions of Chief Inspector Nicola Demaine, who worked in Corporate Services, amounted to gross misconduct and breached the expected standards of professional behaviour.
Demaine will also be added to the College of Policing Barred List.
Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP's Professional Standards Branch, said: "The integrity of all force promotion systems must hold firm to ensure GMP selects the very best people to lead its workforce at every level.
"Where that integrity is lost and a candidate is exposed to an unfair advantage it risks bringing selection methods into disrepute, countering the accomplishments of our very best people who deserve an incorruptible platform on which they can evidence their suitability to lead in GMP.
"As a then senior leader in GMP, Nicola Demaine’s actions put at risk the integrity of a Chief Inspector promotion board and she failed to demonstrate the very highest standards of professional behaviour that the public and our workforce should rightly expect.
"As a Chief Inspector herself, she carried the privilege of rank and with rank comes responsibility.
"Necessarily, high-ranking officers can expect to suffer a hard fall when their actions are found to amount to gross misconduct and in this case, Nicola Demaine’s actions have resulted in her dismissal from GMP as decided upon by a misconduct hearing panel headed by an independent legally qualified chair."
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The force did not reveal what information had been disclosed to the candidate and only stated they had been “exposed to an unfair advantage”. However it’s not hard to imagine what kind of information Demaine might have provided the candidate with; possibilities ranging from what questions might be asked by interviewers or what to expect from the process.
What’s also not certain is the reason why Demaine did what she did, but at the risk of speculating, someone in a position as senior as a Chief Inspector is unlikely to have unwittingly given a promotion candidate a leg-up. And what’s unfathomable is the idea that someone who HAD done this unintentionally would be found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel.
As such, this case has all hallmarks of favouritism and bias in the recruitment process, an issue which is taking on growing concern among HR leaders.
A 2022 poll of 1,000 UK employees which was conducted by UK-based online printer instantprint, to determine the prevalence of toxic workplaces in the UK. 35% of respondents said one of the biggest red flags for a toxic working environment was blatant favouritism for certain colleagues by those within a more senior role.