Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Former Met officer would have been dismissed over sexual relationship with a woman under investigation

A former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer, who started an inappropriate relationship with a woman he was investigating for possible criminal offences, would have been dismissed without notice if he had not already resigned, a police disciplinary panel has ruled.

Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the independently chaired panel found gross misconduct proven against former Detective Constable (DC) John McCarthy.

A two-day hearing organised by the force concluded on Tuesday 12 October when the officer was found to have breached the police professional standards of honesty and integrity, orders and instructions, the police code of ethics and authority, respect and courtesy.

We started our independent investigation in January 2018 after receiving a referral from the force.

Evidence we gathered indicated that in 2017, former DC McCarthy, abused his position as a police officer by engaging in a sexual relationship with a woman who was a suspect in a harassment case he was investigating. The case against the woman was subsequently discontinued. Our investigation found evidence that DC McCarthy and the woman also exchanged flirtatious/sexual mobile phone text messages.

We found that had procured a loan of £3,580 from the woman via a series of payments into a personal bank account between June and September 2017. At no time did DC McCarthy declare his relationship or declare receiving money and gifts from the woman. Our investigation found evidence to suggest that DC McCarthy may have intended to permanently deprive the woman of the money.

Our investigation ended in March 2020 and concluded that there was a case to answer for gross misconduct. Mr McCarthy resigned from the force on 5 September 2021. He has now been placed on the barred list of former officers who cannot work for the police service in the future.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “It is clear John McCarthy took predatory steps for his own sexual gratification and personal gain. This kind of behaviour had no place in policing. Mr McCarthy would have been dismissed with immediate effect for abusing the trust and power placed in him as a police officer had he not already resigned, and this is the outcome police officers should expect and receive.

“His behaviour has had a serious and devastating impact on his victim, and a corrosive, lasting impact on the public’s confidence in individual officers and the police service in general.

“It is critical there are effective systems in place to prevent, monitor and deal swiftly with any individual officer who exploits or abuses the trust that people have in the police.

“It is behaviour which can never be justified or condoned.”

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