Metropolitan Police commander who wrote drug strategy

A Metropolitan Police commander who wrote the force’s drug strategy was smoking cannabis daily before going to work, a misconduct hearing has been told.

Julian Bennett is facing three gross misconduct allegations at a tribunal in central London, including using cannabis, LSD and magic mushrooms between February 2019 and July 2020.

He is also accused of refusing to comply with a lawful order to provide a sample for a drugs test and of lying – claiming medical reasons – about why he could not do so on 21 July 2020.

Mr Bennett, who has previously chaired misconduct hearings and oversaw the dismissal of two officers for drug misuse, could face dismissal if the allegations are proven.

Julian Bennett (left) arrives at a misconduct hearing in central London

Image: Julian Bennett (left) arrives at a misconduct hearing in central London

A panel on Monday heard from senior nursing assistant Sheila Gomes, who lived at Bennett’s flat towards the end of 2019 and described him as having a “really serious” addiction to cannabis.

She said the senior officer would smoke the Class B drug daily and before going to work.

“The moment he was leaving the bathroom [in the morning] he was already smoking,” she said.

Ms Gomes described Mr Bennett’s flat as becoming a centre for parties and said her partner would join Mr Bennett and friends to smoke daily.

The two became lazy from smoking and the flat became messy, forcing her to move out, she said.

Ms Gomes told the tribunal Mr Bennett had lied about being a lawyer and said she didn’t discover he was a Metropolitan Police commander until after she had left the flat in January 2020.

She said: “Because of his erratic behaviour, for me, I was thinking he’s a drug dealer.”

Mr Bennett denies all three allegations and the hearing continues.

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