Hampshire police officer who targeted 'vulnerable' women showed 'troubling pattern of behaviour'

A POLICE officer sacked for pursuing relationships with vulnerable women showed a ‘troubling pattern of behaviour,’ the police watchdog has said.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 11:11 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:55 pm

As reported last week, the Hampshire officer’s identity has been protected at a private hearing where he faced gross misconduct proceedings.

Few details were release by the force last week following representations on the man’s behalf at the closed-doors hearing.

Now the police watchdog the IOPC has revealed they carried out a 10-month investigation into the women’s concerns ‘about the police constable’s behaviour towards them’.

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A statement said: ‘Evidence indicated that the officer had inappropriately pursued relationships with two vulnerable women he met during the course of his duties, and that in doing so he had misused their contact details.

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‘The officer was also accused of trying to set up a date with a woman after attending an incident she had been involved in.’

He has been barred from being a police officer and sacked for gross misconduct.

The chair of the hearing said he showed a ‘troubling pattern of behaviour, and that such behaviour risked seriously undermining public trust in the police service,’ the IOPC statement added.

Deputy chief constable Sara Glen previously told The News the case was ‘highly unusual’.

IOPC regional director Graham Beesley said: ‘The officer should have known that inappropriately pursuing relationships in the way that he did was a clear breach of the professional boundaries that exist between police and members of the public. It was an abuse of authority, exacerbated by the fact that the officer knew two of the women had vulnerabilities.

‘“The panel’s decision shows that such behaviour will not be tolerated.’

A legally-qualified chair who ran the gross misconduct hearing ruled he cannot be named, and nor could the women he targeted.

Most hearings are public but prior to this year, around a third of all police misconduct hearings in Hampshire where sanctions have been issued were heard behind closed doors.

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