Firearms officer three times over drink-drive limit

A Shropshire firearms officer has been banned from policing, after he was found to be over three times the alcohol limit while on call.

PC William "Billy" Weir had 43 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per 100 ml of breath in his system when he was stopped, a misconduct hearing was told.

At the time, in August 2023, Mr Weir was part of West Mercia Police’s Task Force, but he resigned before the hearing took place.

The misconduct hearing concluded his actions constituted gross misconduct.

The recommended limit for firearms officers on call is 13mcg, with the drink driving limit for civilians set at 35mcg per 100ml of breath.

'Not premeditated'

Temporary Chief Constable Alex Murray, chair of the hearing at the force’s headquarters in Hindlip, Worcestershire, said had Mr Weir not already resigned, he would have been dismissed.

Mr Weir was also added to the College of Policing Barred List, preventing him from ever working for a UK police service in the future.

"Officers and staff are held to a high standard of professional behaviour both on and off duty, which the public rightfully expect. If they fall below these standards then we will take action," said Mr Murray.

Det Insp Lesley Williams, representing Mr Weir in his absence, told the hearing he fully accepts he consumed alcohol while with the task force, but believed he was guilty of misconduct, and not gross misconduct.

“This is not a case of operational dishonesty, corruption, data misuse, violence, or discrimination. The only harm I would have considered is the reputational harm,” she said.

Det Insp Williams added that Mr Weir's actions had not been premeditated.

'Public must be reassured'

Mr Murray said it was "reasonable and logical" to work on the assumption the alcohol limit applies to an officer who is on call.

"An example is a task force officer that will be ready at any time. It is a safety critical role," he said.

"I agree it was not intentional or planned and was a one-off incident.

"His vehicle was placed at his address and he was fully aware that he could have been called out at any given time.

"The public must be reassured that officers, whether on call or not, should be fit to work and the public should be protected."

Mr Weir, who joined West Mercia Police in 2021, is now serving in the military.

He has a right of appeal, which must be served in writing within 10 days of the hearing.

This news was gathered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service which covers councils and other public service organisations.

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