Milton Keynes police officer on sick leave for nine months was 'moonlighting' as a tree surgeon
A misconduct hearing found he breached standards of professional behaviour
A Milton Keynes police officer has resigned after being caught working on up to 10 occasions as a tree surgeon during a nine month period of sick leave from the force.
PC Aran Kendall resigned from his job after his 'moonlighting' was discovered, but he was still the subject of a police misconduct hearing held this week.
Details of the hearing have today been published. They state Mr Kendall's actions amounted to gross misconduct as he breached police standards of honesty, integrity, duties, responsibilities, orders and instructions.
"The breaches were committed over a sustained period of time and will have caused reputational harm to the police and also undermined public confidence in the police," the report reads.
Had Mr Kendall not resigned, he would have been dismissed without notice from the force, decided the panel, which was headed by an independent chair.
They heard the PC went on long-term sick leave in July 2020 from his job on the Incident and Crime Response Team at Milton Keynes Police Station.
"However it was suspected that he was carrying on other work whilst he was on leave and a review was undertaken... Whilst he was declared unfit for work and on long term sick leave from Thames Valley Police, between at least February 2021 and April 2021, he was ‘moonlighting’ as a tree surgeon," the report states.
He was captured on APRN cameras on 10 occasions between February 2021 and April 2021 driving a pick-up truck registered under the name Top Trees Professional Tree Service.
The business is run by Daniel Mason who the PC was "connected with", the panel heard.
Before Mr. Kendall became a police officer in 2018, he had worked as a tree surgeon and sold a chipper (a device used in such a trade) to Mr Mason, members were told,
While Mr Kendall was on active duty he held an 'authorised business interest’ allowing him to work as a tree surgeon for up to eight hours per week. However, as he was deemed unfit to work as a police officer, this business Interest was revoked, they heard.
Daniel Mason, when asked, denied PC Kendall was working for him.
"That is not accepted by the appropriate authority, because of the other evidence which proves on the balance of probabilities PC Kendall was working for him and the absence of a reasonable explanation to the contrary," states the misconduct panel report.
During his interview in June 2021, Mr. Kendall provided a no comment response. He failed to attend the misconduct hearing.
Though he was of "good character" and this was taken into account, the breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour were "so serious that individually and cumulatively they amount to gross misconduct", the report adds.
"We are a public facing organisation and the public would expect our staff to be able to carryout their contracted role ahead of any business interest", it states.