Former Humberside Police officer dismissed after IOPC investigation

Published: 23 Mar 2022

A former Humberside detective who was found to have repeatedly failed to properly investigate reports of crime following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into six of his cases has been barred from working as a police officer again.

Gross misconduct was found proven against former DC Philip Payton at a hearing that concluded yesterday (22 March). The panel ruled he would have been dismissed without notice had he not already resigned.

Our investigation looked at the handling of six investigations he led between 2015 and 2017, all involving vulnerable complainants and victims.

DC Payton provided dishonest updates to families and colleagues, missed significant evidential opportunities and recorded crime logs incorrectly while investigating sexual assault and rape allegations. His mistakes meant investigations stalled and in several cases it was only after a different detective was appointed to take charge that perpetrators were prosecuted.

On one investigation DC Payton arranged for officers to search the home of a suspected rapist where a number of electronic items are taken away as evidence. Despite being made aware that at least one of the devices appeared to contain traces of indecent images of children, DC Payton authorised for much of the property to be returned. He then failed to disclose this fact to supervisors.

While in charge of an investigation into money stolen by a woman from her vulnerable parents, DC Payton failed to process and manage case material adequately or progress relevant lines of enquiry. He also failed to submit files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to review.

DC Payton failed to process and manage case material or submit files to the CPS in a sexual abuse investigation. On that occasion he also failed to update the victim about the investigation. In both cases, it was only after other detectives were appointed to lead the investigations, after Humberside Police became aware of concerns about his competence, that the offenders were charged and prosecuted.

During interviews with investigators, DC Payton provided no comment when asked about his actions. In a prepared statement he stated how he felt unsupported and overworked but evidence showed he was applying for additional responsibilities at the time and supervisors had met with him to try and help manage any workload problems.

Humberside Police referred five of the investigations in May 2017 after a sergeant identified concerns, citing a lack of action and ineffective investigation. We received a sixth referral from the force in September 2017 following a complaint from a member of the public.

Our investigation concluded in May 2020 and we shared our findings with the force and the complainants. We also referred the case to the CPS to consider charges relating to the distribution of indecent images of a child. After considering the case, the CPS decided not to authorise any charges.

At the two-day hearing, former DC Payton was found to have breached the police standards of professional behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities; authority, respect and courtesy; and honesty and integrity. He resigned from the force earlier this month.

IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle said: “DC Payton’s handling of these investigations fell so far below the standards of what members of the public are entitled to expect and his failures have had a devastating impact on the families involved. Had it not been for the actions of his colleagues in identifying and rectifying this litany of mistakes, his incompetence might have resulted in serious crimes going unpunished.

“He has at no point taken responsibility for his extremely poor performance and this kind of response severely erodes trust and confidence in the police and anyone who behaves in such a way can have no place in policing.

“We have been assured that Humberside Police have subsequently undertaken an internal review and implemented additional supervision approaches to ensure that concerns are flagged and addressed to prevent such failures reoccurring.

“My thoughts go out to all those who have been affected during the course of these investigations and I thank the newly assigned detectives on some of the investigations who have demonstrated a commitment to securing justice for families.”

Former DC Payton will now be added onto the National College of Policing’s barred list which prohibits him from working within policing.

  • Humberside Police