Drink driving detective who crashed allowed to resign before hearing

Drink driving detective who crashed allowed to resign before hearing

Met Police detective who crashed into car on the M1 while drink driving on duty was banned from driving for 14 months but kept his job for six more months and was allowed to resign days before a misconduct hearing

  • DS Stuart McKechnie crashed into a car on the M1 while on duty on February 6
  • He provided three positive breath tests, with the lowest reading being 54mg
  • He was convicted of drink-driving and disqualified from driving for 14 months
  • But he was allowed to retire two days before a misconduct hearing last month 
  • The hearing concluded he would have been dismissed if he was still an officer 

A Metropolitan Police detective who crashed into a car on the M1 while drink-driving on duty was banned for driving for 14 months but was allowed to retire days before a misconduct hearing.

DS Stuart McKechnie was driving on the M1 when he was involved in a collision with another vehicle on February 6. 

DS McKechnie, who was on duty but was in his own car, provided a positive breath test at the roadside and two further tests at Luton police station – with the lowest reading being 54mg, above the legal limit of 35mg. 

He was convicted of drink-driving after he entered a guilty plea at Luton Magistrates’ Court on March 15. He was disqualified from driving for 14 months and was fined £620.

But DS McKechnie was allowed to retire from the Metropolitan Police Service, where he had been part of the North West Command Unit, on September 20 – just two days before an accelerated misconduct hearing.

The hearing heard that had he not retired he would have been dismissed for gross misconduct. 

DS Stuart McKechnie, who was on duty but was in his own car, was driving on the M1 when he was involved in a collision with another vehicle on February 6 (stock image)

It heard that as he drove on the M1 he ‘tried to take a risky manoeuvre’ while under the influence, which resulted in the crash.

He caused actual harm to the person whose car he collided with but ‘in terms of damage, the harm could have been far worse’, the hearing was told.

In attempt to mitigate his offences, DS McKechnie pointed out that others who had committed worse actions have had lenient outcomes.

The Chair of the hearing said: ‘Former DS McKechnie has specifically asked me to consider very personal mitigation.

‘He asks me to consider his dedication to public service over many years and his resignation as reasons not to dismiss him, were he still serving.

‘He claims that others who have behaved in a worse way (as he puts it) have had a more lenient outcome.

He was convicted of drink-driving and was disqualified from driving for 14 months. But DS McKechnie was allowed to retire just two days before a misconduct hearing (stock image)

‘I have noted former DS McKechnie’s long record of service, in a range of roles, mostly detective-based, and his promotion to Detective Sergeant.

‘However, I also note his high level of sickness absence and concerns about his recent performance.’

Passing the judgement, the Chair said: ‘It is unacceptable for police officers, who are responsible for upholding the law, to break the law themselves and to do so brings discredit on the service.

‘In addition, in respect of fitness for duty, an on-duty officer who is driving when over the prescribed limit is unfit for the range of duties that fall his way, not confined to but obviously including driving.

‘In this case, DS McKechnie was in fact involved in a collision, putting members of the public and himself in danger.’

The hearing concluded that nothing less than a dismissal, had he still been a serving officer, would be sufficient. 

It is not known whether pension forfeiture will be considered for DS McKechnie, or whether he will be able to retain his pension.

A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘In accordance with the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and current Home Office Guidance, pensions can only be forfeited for very specific reasons, one being if an officer is convicted of an offence committed in connection with their service. 

‘It is the responsibility of the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime to make pension forfeiture applications to the Home Secretary for consideration.’

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