Former Met detective barred from policing after gross misconduct proven

Published: 25 Mar 2022

A disciplinary panel ruled that a former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) detective would have been dismissed without notice if he was still serving, after hearing that he had formed an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met through his work.

The hearing was organised by the force following our investigation.

Former Detective Constable (DC) Joseph Gilligan also used police computer systems to access records relating to the woman and her former partner.

The disciplinary panel, led by an independent and legally qualified chair, today (Friday 25 March) found gross misconduct proven and ruled that the former officer had breached the standards of professional behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy; confidentiality; honesty and integrity; and discreditable conduct.

It was alleged that former DC Gilligan:
• Pursued and/or established and/or engaged in an improper sexual relationship with a victim of domestic violence
• Made unauthorised disclosures to the woman, for which there was no policing purpose, of sensitive data relating to a police investigation he was involved in
• Conducted unauthorised searches on MPS computer systems in relation to the woman and her former partner without a policing purpose
• Accessed the woman’s mobile phone without permission and viewed messages and/or photographs on the phone and deleted photographs
• Failed to report a road collision which he had been involved while driving, and apparently after he had been drinking.

The IOPC’s investigation followed a referral from the MPS in February 2020 and looked at allegations that the officer had formed an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met during the course of his duties. Evidence we gathered indicated that he had accessed information relating to her on police computer systems.

He shared sensitive data with the woman, including custody images of a suspect for a serious sexual assault and a picture of the victim.

The hearing was told he crashed his personal car into a vehicle in a police station, when he believed he was over the drink drive limit and failed to report the collision when it happened, later blaming it on a health condition.

A file of evidence was referred to the CPS which made the decision not to authorise charges against former DC Gilligan.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Former DC Gilligan formed a relationship with a woman who was a victim of domestic violence and therefore was potentially vulnerable.
“Actions like this undermine the public’s trust in police officers, who should also know that it is entirely inappropriate to use police computer systems for personal reasons, as he was found to have done.

“Former DC Gilligan has now left policing and his name will be put on the barred list so he cannot rejoin in the future.”

During our investigation, which concluded in June 2021, investigators obtained an account from the officer, examined his mobile phone, his work email account, and conducted an audit of the use of MPS intelligence platforms. Additional statements were obtained from those connected to the investigation.

Former DC Gilligan resigned from the force in February 2021 and the panel added him to the policing barred list, preventing him from future employment within the police service.

  • Corruption and abuse of power
  • Domestic abuse
  • Road traffic incidents
  • Welfare and vulnerable people