Former South Wales Police officer would have been dismissed for inappropriate relationship and falsifying breath tests

Published: 06 Apr 2023

Gross misconduct has been found proven against a retired South Wales Police officer following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the then police constable’s inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman.

At a disciplinary hearing held by South Wales Police, it has been determined that former PC Julian John would have been dismissed, had he not already retired. The hearing followed our investigation which began in February 2020, after we received a referral from the force regarding an allegation the officer had formed an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable woman he had met through the course of duties.

During the course of our investigation, we interviewed the police officer, examined his mobile phone and obtained statements from several witnesses. We found flirtatious text messages sent by PC John to the woman, from his work mobile, over a nine month period and evidence that he had stayed at her property overnight on at least one occasion.

At the end of our investigation in January 2021, we found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct. PC John retired from South Wales Police in March this year.

The hearing heard that on a date in mid-December 2019, apparently to meet internal targets for individual roads policing officers, the officer carried out two negative breath tests on himself and recorded them falsely as tests on members of the public.

In interview he said he tested the device on himself because he was curious to see if a Christmas mince pie he had eaten earlier would have had any effect on his blood alcohol level. The panel found the explanation to be “wholly implausible” and that it was more likely than not that his conduct was a conscious attempt to inflate his breath test figures during a Christmas anti-drink and drugs driving campaign.

At the conclusion of the hearing on Tuesday 28 March, overseen by an independent legally qualified chair, the panel decided that the retired officer had breached the standards of professional behaviour and would have been dismissed had he not already left the force.

IOPC Director David Ford said: “The police hold a fundamental role to help the people they serve, not exploit them. Abuse of position to target and seek to form a relationship with a vulnerable woman is taken extremely seriously in our investigations and such behaviour only serves to undermine public trust in policing.

“In addition to the inappropriate relationship, PC John was an experienced roads policing officer, so he would be only too aware that submitting false breath tests was entirely inappropriate, breaching the professional standards of honesty and integrity.

“We all have a right to expect police officers to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and the outcome of the hearing demonstrates that those who fail to do so will be held to account.”

Mr John will now also be placed on the police-barred list.

  • South Wales Police
  • Corruption and abuse of power