Hampshire police officer sacked at closed hearing for 'pursuing private relationships' with women he met on duty

A POLICE officer has been sacked in a secret misconduct hearing for ‘pursuing private relationships’ with women he met on duty.

By Ben Fishwick
Thursday, 6th May 2021, 4:24 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 9:38 am

The Hampshire police officer was found to have committed gross misconduct over his conduct with a ‘number of women’.

Deputy chief constable Sara Glen said the officer had made representations to the legally-qualified chair to get anonymity and the chair ruled there could be no press or public access.

‘No further details can be published or provided in relation to this case,’ a police statement said.

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It added: ‘An officer has been dismissed after a gross misconduct hearing lasting two days, having faced allegations that he had sought to pursue private relationships with a number of women that he had met when on duty.

‘He was found to have been in breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to authority, respect and courtesy, confidentiality and discreditable conduct.’

MS Glen said the force was ‘fully supportive’ of holding hearings in public but it was a decision for the chair.

She said: ‘In this highly unusual case, it was determined by the (chair) that the representations put forward by the officer outweighed the public interest, therefore the officer was granted anonymity and the matter was dealt with in a fully private hearing.

‘The information provided by the (chair) to be published on the force website is the only information we are legally allowed to share and we are prevented from providing any further details.

‘While we cannot comment on this particular case, I have always been clear that policing in this country is built on trust and the public should expect the highest standards from the officers and staff who are entrusted to keep them safe.

‘Whenever a police officer breaks that trust, it is a fundamental betrayal of our relationship with the public and the values on which policing stands for.‘It also damages the reputations of the many professional officers and staff who do respect the boundaries placed upon them.’

It comes after special constable Jamie Campbell faced a closed-doors misconduct hearing after he unnecessarily accessed details of 18 people, including victims and convicted criminals, over nine years.

He would have been sacked if he had not already quit, the hearing run by chief constable Olivia Pinkney found.

Now The News can reveal that prior to this year, around a third of all police misconduct hearings in Hampshire where sanctions have been issued have been heard behind closed doors.

Some 13 Hampshire police officers were taken to disciplinary hearings between 2016 and 2020.

A major misconduct probe into racist, sexist and homophobic language at Basingstoke police station was heard publicly and widely publicised by the force.

Rules that came into force in 2015 were designed to ensure most cases could be heard publicly.

But in four cases the chair of the disciplinary panel ordered that no public could attend. One case was partly held in secret in 2016.

The officer involved, allegations in brief detail and the outcome were published in all the gross misconduct cases.

Last month a closed-doors hearing cleared a police officer of assault.

No details were given about the case and public were not allowed to attend as the chair ruled it must be heard in private ‘in the interested of the welfare of those giving evidence’.

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A Hampshire police spokeswoman said the force follows Police Regulations as to whether a hearing should be publicised.

Previously the force listed a case for five days in advance, but following a change in the 2015 regulations now lists them online when a hearing date is set.

Parties can ask the chair to hold the case in public or private.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘Prior to making that decision, all parties can make representations for the hearing to be made in private, but this is only likely to be granted in exceptional circumstances, for example covert policing or operational security matters or victim identification and safeguarding.

‘Even in these cases, the chair can determine that the hearing is held in public but moved into private session for certain aspects to be considered, or provide anonymity for victims and witnesses.

‘The presumption should always be for transparency where possible.’

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