Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Hampshire police officer sacked for sending inappropriate messages to domestic abuse victim

A Hampshire Constabulary police constable was recently (22 October 2021) dismissed without notice at the end of a misconduct hearing, which followed our investigation.

The chair of the misconduct panel ruled all parties in this case must remain anonymous.

The officer had used his personal mobile phone to contact a woman, known as Female A, and send her inappropriate messages while both on and off duty.

She was a vulnerable domestic abuse victim with whom he had come into contact within the course of his duties.

We found evidence that also indicated the police officer had disclosed confidential information to Female A’s mother about her daughter’s partner with no policing purpose. He had also accessed the force’s police information system without a policing purpose.

During our investigation, which ended in February 2021, investigators interviewed the officer, examined his mobile phone and obtained statements from several witnesses, including Female A.

We found a case to answer for misconduct for breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour relating to honesty and integrity; authority, respect and courtesy; confidentiality; discreditable conduct; and orders and instructions.

Hampshire Constabulary agreed with our findings and organised the misconduct hearing, which started on Monday 11 October and ended recently (21 October).

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley recently said:

"This officer had met Female A in the course of his duties and knew she was a vulnerable survivor of domestic abuse.

"He used his personal and work mobile to send her messages and tried to meet her at his home. Inviting a victim of crime to his home raised concerns about this officer’s decision-making and ability to keep professional boundaries between himself and Female A.

"The police standards are very clear – officers must not establish or pursue an improper sexual or emotional relationship with a person they came into contact within the course of their duties. The use of personal phones to contact witnesses or victims is usually inappropriate.

"Of the 60 WhatsApp messages sent between the pair, 48 were sent outside of the officer’s working hours and the content regularly appeared to have no policing purpose. He then deleted multiple messages, evidence of his intent to conceal his actions and that he knew his contact with Female A had overstepped the mark.

"At the heart of this matter is that Female A told the IOPC she had lost confidence in the police as a result of the officer’s actions. The officer has now been dismissed without notice. He will also be placed on the policing barred list.

"We would like to reiterate to police officers and staff, current or former, that we have a whistleblowing line for police officers and staff to report concerns of wrongdoing where they believe a criminal offence has been committed, or evidence of conduct that would justify disciplinary proceedings.

"Members of the public can find out more about how to make a complaint about a police force on our website."

 

Channel website: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/news/hampshire-police-officer-sacked-sending-inappropriate-messages-domestic-abuse-victim

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