Ex-West Mercia Police officer would have been dismissed for inappropriate relationship
A former West Mercia Police officer would have been dismissed without notice had he still been serving, a police disciplinary panel ruled today (Monday 18 September), following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Ex-police constable Alexander MacPherson faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman and attempting to form a sexual relationship with another woman. Both were victims of crime he met through his policing duties.
Following an inspection of his work mobile phone, we found evidence the 55-year-old began a relationship with one of the women shortly after she reported being assaulted in August 2018. In the first two months, he exchanged over 300 messages with her on his work mobile phone. The relationship lasted for three years.
We also found that he attempted to form an emotional or sexual relationship with another woman who had been the victim of an assault at her place of work. In March 2021, in the space of a few weeks, he sent an excessive and unnecessary number of text messages to her, which were of a personal nature. The woman told our investigators that he repeatedly turned up at her workplace, behaving in an over familiar manner which made her very uncomfortable.
Our investigation began in August 2021 following a referral from West Mercia Police after they had made a routine audit of his work phone. IOPC investigators interviewed the officer under caution, examined his work and personal mobile phones and obtained statements from the women involved.
At the end of our investigation in February 2022 we determined PC MacPherson had a case to answer for gross misconduct. He resigned from the force earlier this year.
A police disciplinary panel, led by a legally qualified, independent Chair determined today (Monday) that the former officer, who was based in South Worcestershire, had breached the standards of professional behaviour with respect to: authority, respect and courtesy; honesty and integrity; and discreditable conduct. It was decided he would have been dismissed had he still been serving.
IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “When officers abuse their position for a sexual purpose, it threatens to undermine the public’s trust that the vast majority of officers work extremely hard to build. West Mercia Police has widely publicised its “Don’t Cross the Line” initiative which makes clear to officers the importance of maintaining professional boundaries and highlights warning signs such as unnecessary visits or messages, or flirtatious behaviour. It also clearly states that “Any abuse of position for a sexual purpose will be considered as serious corruption”.
“The former officer started a sexual relationship with a woman who was in a vulnerable position, which continued for several years. Our investigation, carried out independently of the police, has ensured he was held accountable for his actions and he has rightly been barred from working in policing in the future.”
At the end of our investigation, we sent a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential offence. The CPS later decided not to bring any criminal charges.