Top Beds Police officer's fall from grace after lying about affair with junior colleague

A high-ranking Bedfordshire Police officer was found to have committed gross misconduct after lying to senior officers about an affair with a colleague.

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 1:51 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 2:56 pm

Supt Nick Lyall, 46, faced three charges of "acting without honesty and integrity" after denying the affair with a female staff member to senior officers when questioned in November 2019.

But an investigation went on to reveal Supt Lyall had exchanged 3,500 messages with the woman - known only as 'Miss A' - using his police smartphone.

Yesterday (Friday), a three week misconduct hearing concluded at Wyboston Lakes Resort, with the four charges found proved against Supt Lyall.

Supt Nick Lyall

Two other charges were dismissed by the panel.

Miss A herself revealed to investigators that the affair had been entirely consensual, and there was no suggestion Supt Lyall had abused his position.

However, she became "miffed" once investigators told her he denied the relationship, and had even accused her of lying.

Speaking after the hearing, temporary assistant chief constable Sharn Basra said: "The public rightfully expect our officers to be honest and trustworthy in everything they do.

"Senior officers in this force need to make incredibly difficult decisions under pressure on a daily basis.

"Any distrust between officers in such an environment could be catastrophic.

"Superintendent Nick Lyall’s behaviour fell well short of the standards we expect and this case shows we will not tolerate such behaviour.”

Supt Lyall had recently been promoted to chief superintendent in October 2019, when an anonymous source contacted Crimestoppers to report details about the affair with Miss A.

An investigation was undertaken by DCS Amanda Bell, head of professional standards across Beds, Herts and Cambs police forces.

Giving evidence, DCS Bell said her team often received malicious allegations about officers.

But, she said: "Miss A was telling us that there was no sex on duty and it was a short-term relationship.

"It's not uncommon for people to form relationships and have affairs at work.

"We're not the moral police."

DCS Bell initially found there was no case to answer regarding the affair, and arranged a risk management meeting with Supt Lyall on November 2, 2019, to offer advice around professionalism in the workplace.

But things took a different turn when Supt Lyall denied the affair during that meeting. He went on to repeat the lie to a further two senior officers over the following days.

An in-depth investigation was then launched, which revealed evidence on his police smartphone.

Supt Lyall subsequently admitted the relationship and claimed he had lied because he "panicked" when questioned. His defence team said he suspected a rival officer of being the anonymous source to Crimestoppers.

He remains suspended pending the outcome of a further hearing to decide on the sanctions.