Met Police commander Julian Bennett dismissed without notice for refusing to take a drug test after reported substance use

Thursday 2 November 2023

A senior officer has been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police Service without notice for refusing to take a drugs test.

Following a Met Police misconduct hearing at Palestra House, Commander Julian Bennett was found guilty of gross misconduct on 31 October and was subsequently sacked.

Mr Bennett, who wrote an anti-drugs strategy for the Met Police, allegedly took LSD and magic mushrooms while off duty and smoked cannabis daily, the hearing was told. 

Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said: “Julian Bennett’s actions were deplorable.

"He was a senior officer and showed complete disregard and disrespect for the standards we must all uphold.

Commander Julian Bennett was found guilty of gross misconduct on 31 October

“The public will justifiably be outraged that any police officer, but particularly one of such a senior rank, refused a lawful order to take a drugs test.

“His actions have further damaged not only the public’s trust in us as an organisation, but also the confidence of our own officers and staff in those who lead them."

Mr Bennett was cleared by a three-person disciplinary panel of smoking the illicit substance.

His former flatmate Sheila Gomes accused him of using it daily before heading to work at New Scotland Yard, reporting him in July 2020.

The panel heard on 21 July 2020 Mr Bennett refused to provide a urine sample for a drugs test, having been informed there was reasonable cause to suspect he had taken drugs.

On 24 July, he was suspended from duty.

The panel found that Mr Bennett had breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to integrity, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct to the level of gross misconduct.

However, the two further allegations that between February 2019 and July 2020, while off duty, Mr Bennett smoked cannabis, and that he gave an untrue explanation for why he refused to take the drugs test were not proven.

Mr Bennett will now be added to the Barred List held by the College of Policing.

Those appearing on the list cannot be employed by police, local policing bodies, the Independent Office for Police Conduct or His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

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