No further punishment for police boss who threw stress ball at officer

A deputy chief constable who threw a stress ball at a colleague's throat has said he is "grateful" to keep his job.

Essex Police's Matthew Horne was found to have committed misconduct over his treatment of two officers, amid concerns over the force's performance.

He threw the rubber ball at Chief Superintendent Carl O'Malley during a meeting at Essex Police Headquarters, hitting him in the throat and leaving a mark. Previously he had pushed Mr O'Malley and caused him to fall against a desk.

Essex Police deputy chief constable Matthew Horne threw a rubber stress ball at a junior colleague's throat, leaving a red mark (John Stillwell/PA)
Essex Police deputy chief constable Matthew Horne threw a rubber stress ball at a junior colleague's throat, leaving a red mark (John Stillwell/PA)

Horne also screamed abuse at Superintendent Glenn Maleary over failings in the force control room, which was under increasing pressure due to staff shortages and absences.

He called Supt Maleary, who had only been in the job for 10 days, a "f****** c***" in the car park outside the force control room in front of another officer.

Essex Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh decided on Tuesday that he will not face any further formal sanction.

In a statement released after the hearing, Mr Horne said: "Ever since I was a boy, I simply wanted to be a police officer; I am grateful that I shall continue.

"Most importantly though, today, I wish to wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologise for any distress caused to my colleagues.

"My motivation has, and always will be, to improve policing in order to protect our communities from harm."

Chief Constable Kavanagh said: "My decision, taking into account the facts of the case, DCC Horne's record of service and his behaviour across everything but 10 minutes of his 28 years of service, is that the holding of these very public and transparent proceedings itself has been salutary and, in my view, properly satisfy the public interest and maintain confidence in the police."

He added: "As an officer and as a leader, DCC Horne's conduct in those three incidents was not acceptable in a workplace that must operate - even in times of the highest levels of stress and risk - on a basis of trust, respect and comradeship.

"He made mistakes, he must acknowledge them and he must learn from them.

"But I have no doubt that DCC Horne and his family have found the last year to be punitive in the distress it has caused."

Three allegations of misconduct between 2015 and 2016 were found proven by an independent panel last month.

It was decided at an earlier hearing that Mr Horne would not lose his job, but would face "management action".

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.

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