Northumbria Police officer dismissed for abusing his position for a sexual purpose

Published: 06 Sep 2022

A Northumbria Police officer who sent inappropriate messages to a vulnerable woman he met in the course of his duties has been dismissed without notice.

Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), an independently chaired panel found gross misconduct proven against PC Callum McLennan.

A disciplinary hearing organised by the force, which concluded on Monday 5 September, found the officer to have abused his position for a sexual purpose after attempting to pursue a relationship with a woman who reported a crime.

After attending a report of a domestic violence incident, PC McLennan sent personal and unprofessional messages to the woman between 4 and 27 February 2021.

The messages sent by him included leading, personal statements with him using kisses and discussed his own private life and relationship status. PC McLennan also appears to have encouraged the woman to contact him on Facebook.

Initially PC McLennan used text messages as a way to update the woman on the outcome of the incident he had attended. During interview PC McLennan admitted after meeting her in a professional capacity, he had attempted to develop a relationship with her through text messages.

As part of our investigation, investigators analysed mobile phones and obtained statements from other police officers who attended the initial incident, as well as the officer’s line manager. We also obtained policy and guidance documents from Northumbria Police in relation to officers’ contact with members of the public following an incident they had attended for a policing purpose.

PC McLennan was interviewed under caution during which he admitted contacting the woman with a view to developing a personal relationship with her.

We started our independent investigation in April 2021 after receiving a conduct referral from the force and concluded, in October 2021, that PC McLennan should face gross misconduct proceedings.

IOPC Regional Director Thea Walton said: “Police officers are held to high standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public and they are expected to conduct themselves professionally. When police officers or staff abuse their position for a sexual purpose this is serious corruption – and it has absolutely no place in policing.

“PC McLennan’s actions were unacceptable and this case is yet another example of how our work is helping tackle the problem. But, ultimately, we need all police forces to act to root out this kind of behaviour and this will require a zero tolerance approach backed up by decisive and consistent action from those in charge.

“We are always incredibly grateful to the brave people who speak out about the inappropriate behaviour they have experienced or witnessed. We want people to feel empowered to speak up if they believe an officer has acted inappropriately. You are not alone; you will be listened to; and your experiences will be taken seriously.”

  • Northumbria Police