Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Former Metropolitan Police officer committed gross misconduct after he attempted to form a relationship with woman he arrested
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has led to a former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer being found to have committed gross misconduct for attempting to form a relationship with a woman he had arrested for dealing drugs.
We began our investigation in August 2017 following a referral from the MPS after they became aware PC Hitesh Patel, based at Stoke Newington Police Station, may have attempted to use his position as a police officer to establish or pursue an inappropriate sexual or emotional relationship with a woman he had arrested.
PC Patel arrested the woman in August 2016 and obtained her telephone number after she returned to the police station to be charged the following month. Telephone records showed he used his personal phone on 17 occasions to contact her while he was on and off duty. The woman was sentenced in December for the drug offences and PC Patel continued to contact her a further 13 times until the end of February 2017. During this time the woman was on bail for an unrelated offence.
The woman provided information to MPS officers and IOPC investigators in relation to PC Patel’s behaviour, which included allegations he took her to lunch on the day of her sentencing hearing and later that day gave her a lift home and whilst there he had kissed her without her consent. The evidence suggested he later lied to his colleague about how and when he obtained the woman’s number. The evidence also showed PC Patel had accessed records relating to the woman without any policing purpose to do so.
Our investigators gathered evidence including the telephone records, computer system audits and obtained statements from witnesses, and in August 2018 we concluded our investigation and passed our findings to the MPS. We found that PC Patel had a case to answer for gross misconduct and the MPS agreed.
On Friday, 27 September 2019 at a misconduct hearing a panel found that PC Patel had abused his position as a police officer. PC Patel resigned from the force ahead of the hearing but the panel deemed his actions amounted to gross misconduct and he would have been dismissed if still employed. He will be placed on the College of Policing’s barred list. The panel found PC Patel breached the standards of professional behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy, honesty and integrity, discreditable conduct and confidentiality. The panel found the case involved very serious misconduct that risked undermining the confidence of the public in policing and the integrity of police officers generally.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said:
“PC Patel clearly and persistently abused his position in an attempt to pursue a relationship with a vulnerable woman. Such was the effect on the woman PC Patel pursued that during the course of our thorough year-long investigation she was so fearful of reprisals that she did not feel able to provide a formal statement.
"This was a terrible betrayal of his role, it undermines public confidence and this sort of predatory behaviour has no place in policing. It serves only to undermine the hard work and endeavour of the vast majority of serving police officers who are equally outraged by this conduct. I am pleased that the independent panel has reinforced the message that this sort of behaviour by police officers is never acceptable.”
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