A Shropshire firearms officer was over three times the alcohol limit while on call – and would have been sacked had he not already left the force.

PC William Weir, known as Billy, had 43 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in his system when a test was carried out on August 5, 2023. The recommended limit for those on call is 13mcg. By comparison the drink driving limit for civilians is 35mcg.

At the time of the offence, Mr Weir, who is in his mid-30s, was on call with West Mercia Police’s Task Force as a firearms officer. He was based in Shropshire, covering the whole county.

Temporary Chief Constable Alex Murray, who was chairing a misconduct hearing at the force’s headquarters in Hindlip, Worcestershire on Friday (June 7), said Mr Weir would have been dismissed had he not already resigned.

He has also been added to the College of Policing Barred List preventing him from ever working for a UK police service in the future.

“When officers are on-call it is important that they remain fit for duty,” said T/Chief Const Murray.


“This was not the case in this instance. 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.”

Detective Inspector Lesley Williams, representing Mr Weir in his absence, told the hearing that Mr Weir fully accepts he consumed alcohol while with the Task Force, but believed he was guilty of only misconduct, and not gross misconduct.

“He accepts he was fully responsible for his actions and never denied or shirked his responsibility,” said DI Williams.

“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.”

DI Williams added that it was not premeditated and asked T/Chief Const Murray what policies were in place about alcohol consumption when on call.

T/Chief Const Murray stated that officers should not have more than 13mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath, and it is ‘reasonable and logical’ to assume that this also includes when on call.

“An example is a Task Force officer that will be ready at any time,” he said.

“It is a safety critical role.”

T/Chief Const Murray concluded that Mr Weir’s actions constituted gross misconduct.

“I agree it was not intentional or planned and was a one-off incident,” said T/Chief Const Murray.

“The officer should be proud of his previous service and what he can serve in the future.

“But it was three times the 13mcg limit. 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.