Portsmouth PC guilty as he 'abused his status' seeking relationship with domestic abuse victim
A POLICE officer specially trained in domestic abuse has been found guilty of gross misconduct after manipulating a ‘highly-vulnerable’ female victim.
The male Portsmouth PC faces being sacked from the force after asking the young woman out for cocktails and kissing her – all while working on her case.
A police misconduct panel this afternoon ruled he ‘disproportionately abused his status’ to seek a ‘sexual or improper emotional relationship’ with the woman, a domestic abuse victim.
The officer had sent the woman 60 WhatsApp messages, with 48 sent while off duty – and signed off several with ‘x’ kisses and used wink-face emojis.
Today the panel sitting at Hampshire police headquarters in Eastleigh found five charges against him proved.
Despite this the panel – comprising a barrister, lay member and serving Hampshire detective superintendent – ordered he must not be named by the media.
As reported, Officer A was assigned to the woman’s investigation but invited her to his flat claiming he would give her an update on the case.
While she was there he invited her to go out for cocktails, the panel heard last week. He also kissed her on the cheek and hugged her outside court.
In a police-recorded video played in evidence, the woman – declared ‘credible and honest’ by the panel – said: ‘I don’t trust police officers any more.’
She said she worries about calling police now and added she ‘especially around male police officers’.
Finding Officer A guilty of gross misconduct, panel chairman Sarah Gaunt said: ‘Officer A not only failed to maintain an appropriate boundary but did so in order to pursue a sexual or improper emotional relationship.’
Ms Gaunt added: ‘The officer was not only unprofessional, over-friendly and inappropriate but further was pursuing a sexual or improper emotional relationship in breach of the NPCC guidance.
‘Female A was a vulnerable individual and Officer A was in a position of responsibility in relation to her.’
The hearing was told Officer A had previously been warned by a colleague not to use his personal phone to contact the victim.
He rang her outside nine times outside of working hours – and made 23 calls from his work phone, 17 of those outside working hours.
Officer A even deleted messages between himself and the woman in a bid to ‘conceal’ the contact.
Detective Sergeant Nick Milburn, representing Officer A, said he admitted his ‘behaviour was unacceptable’ but had an ‘unblemished’ record.
Victoria von Wachter, who presented the case, said Officer A showed ‘blatant disregard’ for the standards and risked causing community trust to ‘erode’.
He faces either a final written warning or dismissal. The panel will announce its decision tomorrow.
Officer A’s anonymity was challenged by The News and other media agencies.