Misconduct in public office following abuse of position - Lincolnshire Police, February 2019
A former Lincolnshire Police constable was jailed for misconduct in public office (MIPO) after a court heard that he had sent sexually inappropriate messages to two women he met through his duties.
An Ex-Police Constable appeared before Nottingham Crown Court in September having previously admitted two counts of MIPO relating to sexual activity and inappropriate communications. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison for the first count and given a concurrent nine-month term for the second offence.
Our investigation established that a woman who was interviewed by the officer on suspicion of assault in January 2019 then began receiving flirtatious messages from him.
One of the woman’s friends informed police about the exchanges, which led to the IOPC starting an investigation in February 2019, after a conduct referral from the force.
We looked at allegations that the officer communicated with a number of women who were in vulnerable situations, with a view to commencing an inappropriate relationship with them; and that he had posted sexual or offensive social media messages which could bring policing into disrepute or were in breach of police professional standards.
Phone analysis showed that he had exchanged more than 3,000 messages with a woman he met after she reported she was being harassed by an abusive ex-partner. They had an intimate relationship which included having sex when the officer went to her home address while on duty to take a statement.
Further sexual contact took place when the officer went back to take a vulnerability statement from the woman. The relationship continued for several weeks during which the woman disclosed she was having suicidal thoughts. He subsequently sent her explicit videos and pictures of himself.
The Crown Prosecution Service authorised charges against the officer following a referral from the IOPC when the investigation ended in August 2020.
The officer was suspended from the force following these allegations. While on suspension, he volunteered at a mental health support group which supports vulnerable young adults with learning difficulties, some of whom were victims of sexual assault and substance abuse. A referral was made to the IOPC due to allegations that he was sending a vulnerable female in the group more sexualised messages.
The officer resigned from Lincolnshire Police in December 2019 after he was interviewed by the IOPC.
The investigation found a case to answer for gross misconduct which was proven at a hearing organised by the force in February 2021. The disciplinary panel ruled that he would have been dismissed if still serving, after finding that he had breached police professional standards for honesty and integrity, and discreditable conduct.
The panel noted that he had sought to conceal his communication with the woman and concluded that his misconduct had been deliberate, targeted and predatory.
He was added to the College of Policing barred list preventing future employment with the police service.