Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Convicted Hertfordshire Constabulary officer now dismissed from police following disciplinary proceedings
A Hertfordshire Constabulary officer who was convicted of misconduct in public office has been dismissed without notice following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and a subsequent police disciplinary panel hearing.
The IOPC concluded our nine-month investigation in June 2019 and provided a copy of the investigative report and findings to Hertfordshire Constabulary. The force agreed with our findings that PC Nicholas Musto, 51, had a case to answer for gross misconduct and arranged for an independent panel to assess the evidence against him foralleged breaches of standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct.
PC Musto had previously pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday 2 July 2020, in connection with an 11-year relationship he had with a woman he met through his role as a police officer. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Friday 17 July 2020.
Recently, (Monday, 21 September) the disciplinary panel found the officer lied during misconduct proceedings in 2013 as to how the relationship began and that the relationship was inappropriate given that the officer was, or should have been well aware of the woman’s vulnerabilities and PC Musto was dismissed.
Our investigation examined how the relationship started, the appropriateness of the relationship and whether the officer lied during an internal Hertfordshire Constabulary disciplinary Investigation in 2013.
During our investigation the officer was arrested and interviewed. Our investigators examined data from mobile phone records, police logs and around 1,900 pages of police and medical documentation, as well as interviewed the woman, police and civilian witnesses.
In 2013 Hertfordshire Constabulary investigated PC Musto’s relationship with the woman. A misconduct meeting was held during which the officer claimed the relationship began after a series of chance encounters in 2013 rather than when he first met her in 2007 after she reported being a victim of crime.
Hertfordshire Constabulary found the allegation of discreditable conduct was not proven and PC Musto faced no disciplinary action for the relationship. At the time it was accepted that the officer had not exploited the mental health vulnerabilities of the woman and equally did not use his position as a police officer to further the relationship. The 2013 misconduct proceeding did not obtain an account from the woman.
Extensive evidence gathered by our investigators from the woman’s family members, other police officers and the woman’s medical records contradicted PC Musto’s account, indicating they were in a relationship immediately after they met in 2007. This was admitted by his guilty plea at court.
Interim regional director Graham Beesley yesterday said:
“PC Musto exploited a vulnerable woman for his own purpose and has subsequently been dismissed. He came into contact with her as the victim of crime in 2007 and she had complex needs, which PC Musto was aware of.
“Several years later, in 2013, when PC Musto was confronted by Hertfordshire Constabulary regarding the inappropriate relationship he lied about it. Hertfordshire Constabulary accepted PC Musto’s version of events and he continued to be in a relationship with the woman for five more years.
“Police who abuse their position for sexual purpose have no place in the police service. The public expect and deserve to have trust and confidence in their police. When a police officer abuses their position for a sexual purpose, this represents a fundamental betrayal of the public and the values for which the police service stands. Such behaviour amounts to serious corruption and those who abuse their position have no place in the service.”
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