A top-ranking Metropolitan Police officer, Commander Julian Bennett, who played a pivotal role in drafting the anti-drugs strategy for the Met, is facing drug misconduct allegations.
Allegations against Bennett, who has served in the Met since 1976, suggest daily cannabis use, the consumption of LSD and magic mushrooms, and refusal to provide a drug test sample as part of the misconduct allegations.
These revelations came to light during a tribunal hearing where a key witness, Sheila Gomes, a senior nurse, claimed that Bennett’s flat, where she resided for two months, was akin to an Amsterdam coffee shop due to his regular cannabis use.
According to Gomes, Bennett’s behaviour was erratic and narcissistic, with a seeming lack of empathy.
Gomes further testified that she photographed a bag of cannabis and associated paraphernalia in the flat to send to a friend, adding to the mounting allegations against the police officer of drug misconduct.
Bennett allegedly resisted a drugs test, authorised on 20 July 2020, stating he had been taking CBD (cannabidiol) to treat facial palsy.
He expressed concern that the test could return a positive result due to the CBD, potentially embarrassing the Metropolitan Police Service.
However, Gomes testified that she saw no evidence of Bennett using CBD oil.
According to the Met’s representative at the tribunal, the CBD explanation is nonsensical, as the reading would have been significantly lower had the substance not been used recreationally.
Allegations about Bennett’s use of magic mushrooms while on holiday in France, and taking LSD, were presented as hearsay.
Bennett, who presided over 74 police misconduct hearings involving 90 officers, is now facing a gross misconduct hearing.
He denies all drug misconduct allegations and has been suspended on full pay since July 2021.
His alleged actions are being reviewed for breaches of professional standards, including discreditable conduct, honesty and integrity, and failing to follow orders and instructions.
As the author of the Met’s drugs strategy for 2017-21, Bennett had aimed to increase awareness about the impact of drug misuse in communities.
The irony of his current position facing drug misconduct allegations is not lost as the tribunal continues.