A School Governor and the Towel Tribunal: Misuse of Met Money?

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner of the Metropolitan Police is in the news for the wrong reasons, again.

The Mail on Sunday revealed that de Brunner attempted to organize an exhibition of Met police officers at Chinthurst School (Tadworth, Surrey) last month. At an estimated cost of £10,000 a firing range, armed response vehicles and riot vans were to be on display.

Back in June 2014 De Brunner, who also acts as chairwoman of the school’s governors, arranged for officers of the Territorial Support Group – with cars, dogs and horses in tow – to stage an event at this private school attended by her son.

This time de Brunner’s request was refused and Hertfordshire constabulary are conducting an investigation into the affair.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, commented:

These decisions require a full explanation. At a time of severe cutbacks to the police, care should always be taken about the use of police resources and time. In the current climate, these are precious.

In charge of implementing budget cuts of £500 million, de Brunner was criticized in 2013 for spending £660 of public funds on her plumed ceremonial headdress.

De Brunner was also in the public eye last month for losing the “towel tribunal”, the result of an internal and criminal investigation against Chief Inspector Adrian Denby, the officer in charge of Central London Territorial Support Group.

Denby, who had served as an adviser to the Kabul City Police, won a sexual discrimination case against de Brunner after she took offence at his men walking through the office in towels.

It is believed that de Brunner was attempted to stamp out the TSG’s macho culture, a unit the Met describes as “the strategic reserve for public disorder and incident response”. Detractors style the TSG as London’s paramilitary police.

Denby was found by the tribunal to be “an impressive and straightforward witness”, while shards of de Brunner’s script were deemed “not credible”.

A damages hearing is to be held in October.




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