Hampshire police misconduct hearing is told PC 'manipulated' a domestic abuse victim by flirting with her

A POLICE officer accused of manipulating a ‘highly suggestible’ domestic abuse victim acted with ‘sexual motivation,’ a misconduct hearing was told.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:11 pm
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 7:08 pm
The Hampshire Constabulary misconduct hearing is set to last five days

A panel hearing the case at Eastleigh police headquarters was told officer A was assigned to the woman following a domestic incident.

The Portsmouth-based officer is accused of inviting the woman to his flat to give her an update on a court case following the domestic incident, but instead asking her out for a ‘date’ at a cocktail bar.

The Hampshire Constabulary officer has been granted anonymity in an order being challenged by The News, the Press Association and Solent News.

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In a police-recorded video played in evidence, the woman said: ‘I don’t trust police officers any more.’

The woman added: ‘I also worry about calling the police now.’

She added this was ‘especially around male police officers’.

She said: ‘At the end of the day they’re just normal people and they do bad things. What he did wasn’t right.’

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Victoria von Wachter, presenting the case against the officer, said he acted to ‘use his position as a police officer... to secure a personal relationship’.

She added his ‘behaviour would not have been exhibited to a male’ victim of crime.

The allegations include hugging the woman - at one point regarded as ‘high risk’ - outside court when her partner was remanded following a domestic incident.

He is also accused of kissing the woman on the cheek.

The woman said he held her for ‘about 30 seconds’ as she was in tears.

Later the officer, who is accused of deleting messages, sent her messages on WhatsApp from his personal number, she said.

When it came to giving her an update on the case, the woman said the officer ‘said he had someone coming round to look at his windows, so I could meet him at his place and give me the update there’.

She arrived and he, she said, told her the window fitter had got the wrong date.

‘I started to feel a bit awkward,’ she said. She added: ‘He didn’t really give me an update on the case at all.’

She added: ‘You don’t invite someone out for dinner and cocktails, that’s a date. That’s not a normal police thing to do.’

In her video-recorded evidence she told the hearing she was ‘naive’ and had not spotted the ‘flirtiness’.

‘I was naive, I nearly died a few weeks before that, I was very lucky to survive,’ she said.

The officer is accused of sending a ‘disproportionate’ amount of texts to the ‘highly suggestible’ woman calling her ‘hun’ and using ‘x’ in the messages.

Ms Wachter said: ‘There’s an attempt here to emotionally manipulate this individual in a way that would not be done... except with a woman.’

The officer is accused of telling the woman’s mother details about criminal allegations against her daughter’s partner.

Ms Wachter said ‘this was principally to blacken the name of male A, to ingratiate himself with female A, or at the very best to control her, to manipulate her actions so that she did what he wanted her to do’.

She added: ‘It's not suggested that officer A attempted to have sexual intercourse with female A... that's not necessary.

‘The reality is that officer A treated female A in a way in which he would not do to a male in terms of coercive and controlling behaviour and in the way in which he addressed her.

‘That in itself sexualises the relationship.’

The officer denies hugging the woman or inviting her to his home.

During the opening, Ms Wachter said: ‘Police forces want parents to be able to say to their daughters: if you're in trouble tell a police officer. What forces do not want is that parents would not feel comfortable in giving that advice.’

The officer is also accused of accessing police records about the domestic abuse victim’s partner with no need.

Ms Wachter added: ‘There’s no doubt in the appropriate authority’s mind that there’s a sexual motivation behind it, albeit one of opportunity rather than action.’

The officer denies the allegations against him. The case is due to last five days.