Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Dorset Police officer dismissed for gross misconduct

A Dorset Police officer has been dismissed after gross misconduct was found proven, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Police Constable Sean Ford faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of entering into an inappropriate relationship with a woman he had met through his duties.  

The officer met the woman to take a statement from her after she had reported an incident to police. After messages were subsequently exchanged, PC Ford entered into a sexual and emotional relationship with the woman, who was considered to be vulnerable.

The IOPC investigation began in March 2020 following a referral from Dorset Police the previous month. As part of our investigation, investigators interviewed the officer and the woman involved and analysed an audit of his movements and computer activity while on duty. Investigators also reviewed police logs, email evidence, mobile phone downloads, and relevant local and national policies, procedures and guidance. 

At the conclusion of our investigation in July 2020, we submitted a report to Dorset Police with our view that the officer should face gross misconduct proceedings.

At a police disciplinary hearing, led by an independent, legally qualified Chair, it was determined that the officer had breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour of honesty and integrity, authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct. 
The panel imposed a sanction recently (30 September) of dismissal without notice.   

IOPC regional director David Ford recently said:

“Cases such as these have the real potential to impact on public confidence in the police. At the outset of their service, it is made clear to officers that it is inappropriate to have or seek personal relationships with members of the public they deal with through their professional duties.

“Our investigation analysed relevant police logs, email evidence and mobile phone downloads and formed the view that PC Ford had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

“The police disciplinary panel decided that the officer’s actions breached standards of professional behaviour and, as a result, have dismissed him without notice.”

PC Ford will now be placed on the College of Policing list of former officers who are barred from working for the police service.


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