Essex Police officer threw stress ball at junior colleague’s throat, tribunal hears

Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne of Essex Police. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne of Essex Police. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

A senior officer with Essex Police threw a stress ball at a junior colleague’s throat and pushed another against a desk in a fit of rage over the performance of the force’s control room, a misconduct tribunal has heard.

Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne is accused of chucking the rubber ball at Chief Superintendent Carl O’Malley during a meeting at Essex Police Headquarters.

Previously he had shoved Mr O’Malley against a desk causing him to lose his balance during a conversation about the force’s performance, it is claimed.

He is further accused of screaming abuse at Superintendent Glenn Maleary over failings in the force control room, which was under increasing pressure due to staff shortages and absences, despite the fact Supt Maleary had only been in the job for 10 days.

A police misconduct hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre on Monday heard the allegations. Horne denies three counts of misconduct said to have taken place between June 2015 and May 2016, including pushing Mr O’Malley and throwing a stress ball at him.


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The panel, chaired by Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, heard that over the period the control room at Essex Police had been criticised for the number of unassigned incidents and slow responses to reports of domestic violence, and was facing high staff turnover and sick leave.

The panel heard Supt Maleary had been newly appointed to the role having previously been stationed at Stanstead Airport and the situation had been gradually improving.

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Neither of the officers or any of the witnesses made a formal complaint about the alleged incidents at the time, but they came to light during an investigation in to an allegation against another officer.

Chief Supt O’Malley said he had decided not to make a complaint about being pushed against the desk because at the time he was applying for promotion, and he knew Horne would be part of the decision making panel.

He also did not make a complaint about the alleged incidents with the stress ball.

Mr Morley said: “It hit Mr O’Malley quite hard in the throat or neck area, leaving a red mark.

“Mr O’Malley was angry about this behaviour from a supervising officer but he was worried about his own personal position. He wanted a promotion so he said nothing.”

Horne denies any physical intimidation.

Mr Morley said: “Effectively it’s a type of bullying behaviour. It’s using physicality and abusive language.”

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