A LIB DEM councillor has been cleared of disrespecting a police officer at a ‘highly charged’ debate over the future of two residential parking zones in Southsea.
Licensing officer PC Matt Moss lodged a complaint to Portsmouth City Council that Councillor Lee Hunt ‘shouted’ at him during a tense discussion over his attendance at the town hall meeting in July 2014, which led to the axe falling on the MB and MC zones.
Cllr Hunt had also questioned the police officer about messages he had sent over Twitter concerning council parking policy.
PC Moss’ complaint was followed up by a letter to the council from Tory activist, and now parliamentary advisory to Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, Stuart Crow, who claimed he heard Cllr Hunt ‘berating’ the officer about his motives.
The complaints prompted a lengthy investigation into whether Cllr Hunt breached the conduct and disrespected PC Moss.
But now a complaints panel has finally decided Cllr Hunt’s actions does not warrant any action and he is cleared of the allegations.
Speaking to The News earlier today, complaints panel chairman Cllr John Ferrett said: ‘On the balance of probabilities, and the evidence produced, the committee does not believe that Councillor Hunt had failed to comply with the code of conduct.
‘We have given this lots of consideration and I think it’s only right the council takes any complaints made, with the utmost seriousness.’
Cllr Hunt criticised the ‘vivacious’ and ‘political’ nature of the allegations, saying both PC Moss and Mr Crow had ‘totally made up’ what happened.
Addressing his version of events, Cllr Hunt said: ‘I asked why he (PC Moss) was here, sitting around watching a debate. I asked him truthfully, because we hear so much about escalating crime, police officers being cut, and here I am, a representative of the people who elected me, and pay the police precept, and I was flabbergasted we had an police officer here, sat while on duty, for two hours or more, in here.’
‘He was just annoyed, he was annoyed someone had challenged him, about why he was here. Clearly, he wasn’t used to that sort of thing.’
It was said at the meeting Hampshire Constabulary had spoken to PC Moss about his ‘unwise’ use of Twitter.