Portsmouth police officer who held scissors close to female colleague's face is banned from service after being found guilty of misconduct
A FORMER police officer who held scissors near a female colleague’s face in a ‘threatening manner’ has been barred from the service after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
Ex-PC Simon Hawxwell, 47, was based at Portsmouth Central police station when he left his colleague ‘scared’ fearing her face would be ‘sliced’ with scissors after she challenged him for saying a post should be filled by a woman with ‘massive’ breasts.
A misconduct hearing was told he held scissors 2in away from Officer A’s face on June 17 last year, having told her to ‘shut your dirty little whore mouth’.
The day before Hawxwell wrapped his arm around her neck, making it ‘difficult’ for her to breathe, while asking her if she liked being choked during sex.
Today a panel, comprising independent member David Bates and Detective Superintendent Tim Rowlandson, ruled he was ‘aggressive and threatening’.
Alice Sims, chair of the panel, said Officer A’s evidence was ‘compelling and plausible’ and found both charges proven against Hawxwell.
Banning Hawxwell from serving as police officer again, she said: ‘We make a finding that PC Hawxwell would have been dismissed if he had not ceased to be a member of the police force.’
Ms Sims said Hawxwell had brandished the scissors in a ‘threatening manner moments after insulting’ Officer A.
Hawxwell tried to blame poor management for his own behaviour going unchallenged but Ms Sims said the issue was ‘tangential’.
She added his behaviour was ‘so plainly inappropriate that it was not the sort of behaviour that can be excused by lack of appropriate management and discipline’.
Hawxwell’s actions were ‘extremely misplaced attempts at workplace banter’ but she added he ‘failed to act with self-control’ or treat Officer A with respect.
However, in regard to the first allegation in the yard, Ms Sims said Officer A was ‘not particularly targeted in allegation one because she was a woman’.
Stephen Morley, presenting the case on Monday, said: ‘It was sexually aggressive and unpleasant and utterly inappropriate for the modern police service.’
Today Mr Morley said the actions in the yard amounted to an ‘assault’ and added: ‘It was deliberate conduct, it wasn’t an accident, it was deliberate behaviour by this officer who… at least in part thought this was funny.’
Hawxwell claimed his actions were just a joke. He did not attend the hearing, having started a new job and did not want alert his employers to the proceedings.
Phil Callard, from Hampshire Police Federation, said Hawxwell did apologise and it ‘was sincere, he did mean it’.
Deputy chief constable Sara Glen said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary will not tolerate any sexist behaviour from our officers and those who choose to ignore this have no place in the modern police force.
‘We expect our officers to uphold the highest levels of professionalism and integrity at all times, on and off duty.’
Asked about the scissors incident on Monday, Officer A told the panel: ‘I’ve then turned my back, felt angry, and he’s picked up the pair of scissors... and come forward with them next to my face, next to my cheek.’
Asked how she felt, she added: ‘Surprised. For a split second I was fearful that I was going to end up getting sliced. But you know... I didn’t think he’d ever be capable of doing that, it’s just when you have a pair of scissors put next to your face it makes you panic and you react by trying to lean back to get it away from you. I think it was shock more than anything.’
The officer said she thought he was ‘trying to have a joke’ and he had a ‘dark sense of humour’ but added: ‘It wasn’t funny.’
Hawxwell denied misconduct.