Northern Ireland news

Key figure in PSNI sex discrimination tribunal Jon Burrows 'devastated' at bias allegations

Jon Burrows prior to his retirement from the PSNI. Picture by Mal McCann
John Breslin

A RETIRED PSNI superintendent wants to deliver testimony to a tribunal as he claims serious allegations were made against him without any way to reply.

Jon Burrows was mentioned multiple times in the industrial tribunal into claims of sex discrimination by former Chief Superintendent Emma Bond.

Mr Burrows said he was “shocked" by suggestions made in the tribunal during questioning by Ms Bond’s barrister that the former police officer was “biased” against her.

His father, former Assistant Chief Constable Colin Burrows, was also mentioned during the hearing.

The tribunal heard that Ms Bond believed Mr Burrows was biased against her for several reasons, including that she was in a vehicle collision with his father.

Former PSNI Chief Superintendent Emma Bond leaves an employment tribunal in Belfast. Picture Mal McCann.


Mr Burrows senior will write to the Chief Constable Simon Byrne to make him aware it was a minor contact in the car park, there was no acrimony and was barely mentioned in its aftermath.

The tribunal is hearing claims Ms Bond was moved from her position as Derry City and Strabane district commander after she “pushed” for an investigation into officers staying at home without approval in the early days of the pandemic in April 2020.

Mr Burrows told The Irish News: "I was shocked to read in the media the serious allegations about my integrity being repeatedly aired at the current employment tribunal hearing. The first I became aware of these allegations was two weeks ago via a newspaper.

"For the absence of any doubt, the allegation of bias is strenuously denied. I left the PSNI with an unblemished disciplinary record and have never been sanctioned for making any inappropriate comments. A collision between my father and Ms Bond in 2018, that was very minor and in a car park played no part in my decision making.

"I wrote last week to PSNI Legal Services Branch to advise them that I could refute the allegations of bias and requested they make representations to the tribunal or call me as a witness. I have received no meaningful reply. In the absence of being called by either party, I have now written directly to the tribunal advising them that I am able to refute the allegations of bias levelled against me and can provide a fulsome account under oath of my decisions pertaining to this case."

Ms Bond is claiming discrimination on the basis of her sex and breaches of whistleblower rights. The chief constable denies the claims.

During several back and forths, Mr Burrows, the retired superintendent and formerly head of the PSNI's discipline branch, was mentioned. He carried out an initial investigation into two meetings attended by more than 100 officers at Strand Road station. These followed Ms Bond finding out about officers staying at home.

The tribunal heard she delivered a “rollicking” to officers and there were questions over holding briefings with a large number of officers at a time when strict social distancing regulations were in place.

Following Mr Burrows’ investigation, a gross misconduct notice was issued against Ms Bond. A further probe was paused while the notice was rescinded following a review.


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