What goes around appears to be coming around for Commander Julian Bennett of London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the senior officer who faces being fired over accusations of having consumed cannabis, psychedelic mushrooms, and LSD while on vacation in 2019 and 2020.
Before you go feeling sorry for Bennett — who is currently suspended with full pay — consider this: Bennett previously presided over the misconduct hearings of two officers who were eventually fired for drug use.
So, perhaps we are allowed to gloat a bit over these details. Barrett’s drug consumption allegedly occurred while he was on multiple holidays in France. He then refused to take a drug test when back in London on July 21, 2020 after he was ordered to on suspicion of using cannabis, according to evidence aired during a gross misconduct hearing on Monday.
Barrett’s reason for refusing the test? He said he’d recently taken CBD for facial palsy, which was a lie, according to documents associated with his misconduct case.
“His behaviour brings discredit upon the police service and undermines confidence in it,” stated the announcement for his misconduct hearing. [Editor's Note: The announcement link will take you to the official London Metro Police website]
The guy has 43 years of experience on the Metropolitan Police Service, and, according to The Telegraph, is known by his peers as “Sacker” due to having fired so many other officers, having overseen some 74 misconduct hearings between June 2010 and February 2012 alone. The Sacker had quite the success rate, too: 75% of officers subject to his hearings were dismissed.
Bennett joined the MPS in 1977, and among his assignments were leading up the investigation, dubbed Operation Venice, on moped gangs.
Between February 2020 and January 2022, the MPS recorded over 100,000 drug offenses. Just last month, the force carried out a three-day operation that resulted in the arrest of over 130 alleged drug distributors.
Also in January, the force faced criticism for what was seen as unnecessary drug tests conducted on individuals leaving two night clubs — tests that officers claim were done to “support women’s safety.”
In December, England’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 10-year drug war strategy in response to record-breaking overdose deaths that included the targeting of upper-class drug users, who could lose their passports or driver’s licenses. The plan also includes expanding police powers, who will now be allowed to message contacts in the seized phones of people charged with drug dealing with the aims of scaring them straight.
And it only gets better — or worse, if you’re Julian Bennett, or really anyone who is unnerved by law enforcement hypocrisy. Bennett actually authored the Metropolitan Police Service’s 2017-2021 drug strategy entitled “Dealing with the impact of drugs on communities,” which states as a goal the elevation of “awareness of the dangers of drug misuse.”
Bennett’s fate currently depends on an in-process investigation by MPS’s directorate of professional standards. He is charged with “discreditable conduct” and for violations of “honesty and integrity” and “orders and instructions.”
A judge has postponed his hearing until May 23 to give his defense team more time to prepare. His lawyers say that they haven’t received all the messages they have requested that pertain to one of the case’s witnesses. Bennett has been suspended, though receiving his full paycheck, since July 2021.