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Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Buchanan - Potentially criminal misconduct and dismissal [2010] EAT

An employee's acceptance of a "Penalty Notice Disposal" in lieu of a criminal trial is unlikely to be sufficient on its own to establish that the relevant (mis)conduct justifies dismissal.

Ms Buchanan had been employed by the Metropolitan Police since 1991. She worked as a civilian Scenes of Crime Officer. In March 2008 she attended a colleague's leaving function and by her own admission had too much to drink. An incident occurred involving alleged non-payment of a taxi fare and in the course of that incident it was alleged that Ms Buchanan had been abusive to the taxi driver and had maintained that she was a police officer.

Ms Buchanan was taken into custody and, after a number of hours, was offered a "penalty notice disposal" ("PND") under the provisions of the Public Order Act 1986 and the Criminal Justice Act 2001. This procedure provides the opportunity of accepting a fixed penalty notice which, if paid within 21 days, concludes the matter without admission of guilt nor a formal conviction.

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