Kent Police officer dismissed following gross misconduct hearing over inappropriate relationship

Published: 14 Oct 2020

A Kent Police Detective Sergeant (DS) has been dismissed without notice at a gross misconduct hearing arranged by the force, following our investigation.

DS Jonathan Pearce, aged 45, was investigated following allegations that he had inappropriate contact with a woman, Ms A, in September and October 2019, and failed to take appropriate action when she reported an attempted rape by a third party in October 2019.

It was alleged DS Pearce breached the standards of professional behaviour by:

* knowing or believing Ms A to be a vulnerable person and a victim of crime, he attempted to enter into a sexual or emotional relationship with her, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy;

* knowing Ms A to have been the victim of an alleged attempted rape, he failed to record the allegation she made or to refer her into the appropriate safeguarding processes, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities;

* having been provided with evidence by Ms A regarding an alleged attempted rape against her, he failed to secure such evidence, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities

DS Pearce admitted misconduct in respect of each allegation, but denied his actions constituted gross misconduct.

Our investigation – started in October 2019 and completed in May 2020 – found evidence of a case to answer for gross misconduct for DS Pearce and Kent Police agreed with our findings.

They scheduled a gross misconduct hearing which took place on 12 - 14 October 2020.

The panel overseeing the hearing, including an independent legally qualified chair, found gross misconduct for DS Pearce.

He was dismissed from the force with immediate effect and will be placed on the police barred list.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “DS Pearce breached police professional standards of behaviour by inappropriately engaging with a vulnerable woman and failing to take appropriate action or secure evidence when she disclosed someone had attempted to rape her. The woman trusted DS Pearce with this information and he abused this trust.

“Kent Police’s response to our investigation and the panel’s decision shows that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”

  • Kent Police
  • Corruption and abuse of power
  • Welfare and vulnerable people