British Transport Police officer given final written warning for gross misconduct

Published: 21 May 2021

An off-duty British Transport Police (BTP) officer who accosted a female jogger in Hammersmith, west London has been given a final written warning following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

Gross misconduct was found against PC Imran Aftab after a hearing that concluded on Wednesday, 19 May.

We started our independent investigation in April 2020, after the woman complained that PC Aftab made comments of a racist and sexualised nature which made her feel so uncomfortable that she sent the message “help me” to a friend during the encounter.

Our investigation concluded in July 2020. We found that PC Aftab approached the woman, who was alone, and showed her his police warrant card in April 2020. He then made sexually inappropriate comments to the complainant, including saying she was “too curvy to be Asian”. After he asked for it, the woman gave the officer her number in an attempt de-escalate the situation, with the intention of later blocking him.

PC Aftab then sent six subsequent messages to the woman after the encounter. The evidence we gathered, including CCTV footage, found PC Aftab engaged with the woman without a ‘reasonable excuse’ and that he used his police identification for a non-policing purpose. We also found the officer attempted to abuse his position for a sexual purpose and breached social distancing policy.

Our investigation concluded that the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and BTP agreed.

A panel, convened by an independent chair, found that the officer inappropriately used his status as a police officer in an attempt to impress the woman to advance his prospects of building a relationship with her and made comments of a sexual nature to her. They also found that he tried to hug the woman and that by standing within two metres of her breached Coronavirus guidance issued by the Government and by BTP to police officers.

The officer was found to have breached professional standards of behaviour for honesty and integrity; authority, respect and courtesy; equality and diversity; and discreditable conduct.

IOPC Regional Director, Sal Naseem, said: “Police officers abusing their position for sexual purposes erodes the trust and confidence of the public. It has no place in policing.”

“Police officers hold a position of trust and there are policies and guidance in place to ensure they maintain professional boundaries between themselves and members of the public. By identifying himself as a BTP police officer and abusing his position to engage with this woman meant PC Aftab crossed that line. His behaviour was unacceptable.

“The sanction illustrates how seriously this kind of behaviour is viewed.”

* BTP, supported by the IOPC, made a judicial review of the panel's decision to issue the sanction of a final written warning. In a High Court of Justice decision announced on 17 March 2023, the sanction was overturned and Pc Aftab was formally dismissed from the force.

  • British Transport Police
  • Corruption and abuse of power