Senior Metropolitan Police officer Commander Julian Bennet has been accused of consuming cannabis, psychedelic mushrooms and LSD while on holiday in France. The officer is said to have used the substances while on vacation in the south of France between February 2019 and July 2020.
Commander Bennet has been suspended on full pay since July 2021 pending an investigation by the Met’s Professional Standards Directorate after refusing to take a drug test on July 21, 2020. The reason he gave for declining the test was that he had taken legal CBD before receiving the drug test request and did not want it to interfere with the results.
The new charges surfaced at Bennet’s misconduct hearing in London yesterday, where he had to answer allegations relating to his alleged drug use, refusal to take a drug test and why why he allegedly lied about his reason for refusing the same drug test.
The emergence of new evidence in the form of Whatsapp messages prompted lawyers defending Mr Bennet to argue that they had not received all the messages, emails and text messages. This prompted the Commandant’s defense to request an adjournment, which was granted by the hearing of President James Tumbridge. The Whatsapp messages are believed to contain an image showing cannabis on a table.
Mr Bennett joined the force in 1977, giving him 44 years of service. In 2018 he drafted the Metropolitan Police’s drugs strategy, ‘Dealing with the impact of drugs on communities’, which outlined the force’s plans for how to raise awareness of the dangers of drug abuse. If convicted of the charges he faces, Commander Bennet could be fired for gross misconduct. The hearing will resume on May 27 this year.