Gross misconduct proven against a former Derbyshire Constabulary Police Community Support Officer who abused his position to target a woman
A former Derbyshire Constabulary Police Community Support officer (PCSO) would have been dismissed had he still been serving, after gross misconduct was found proven, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The PCSO resigned from the force in May 2022. Our investigation began the same month following a referral from the force about the conduct of the officer.
It was alleged that the officer had abused his position by engaging in sexualised conversations with a member of the public who he had met through the course of his duties in April 2022.
At a disciplinary hearing, arranged and overseen by Derbyshire Constabulary, it was determined on Wednesday (12 July) that he had breached standards of professional behaviour and would have been dismissed.
The PCSO had made contact with the woman via Facebook and sent her inappropriate and graphic photographs including of a male groin area, as well as commenting that he wanted to see some of her tattoos. He also asked her if she had any sex videos. From the conversations we examined on Facebook and WhatsApp, they appeared to show that he had discussed keeping a 'secret', indicating that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong and may have been taking steps to conceal it.
During our investigation, we interviewed the officer, examined his mobile phone and obtained statements from several witnesses, including the woman he had been contacting.
Our investigation assessed data from the PCSO’s personal mobile phone where many messages were found which did not serve a legitimate policing purpose, were flirtatious and represented an effort by the officer to establish and maintain contact with the woman.
At the end of our investigation in October 2022, we found that the PCSO had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
Derrick Campbell, IOPC Regional Director said: “Anyone working in policing is expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times and are rightly held to certain standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public. The abuse of police powers for sexual purpose has a profound impact on victims.
“Our independent investigation concluded that the officer in this case abused his position by actively pursuing unprofessional contact with a female member of the public. The officer failed in his duty to maintain appropriate boundaries.”
“Following a gross misconduct hearing, it was determined the officer would have dismissed without notice, had he still been serving, highlighting that behaviour of this type will not be tolerated in policing.”