Of­fi­cer over Face­book mes­sages

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY -

vate mes­sage. The fol­low­ing day he in­vited Ms to meet in Wether­spoons. The woman, fear­ing he would be­come angry and come to her home, told him: “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can.”

But he per­sisted, say­ing that the pair could “sit some­where quiet” and “hide in a cor­ner”. When she de­clined again, he of­fered to visit

at home. As a re­sult, Ms A, who com­plained

Kent Po­lice about PC Wood’s be­hav­iour, self-harmed again, cut- ting her arm and her leg. PC Wood, who was found guilty of gross mis­con­duct and dis­missed with­out no­tice, told the panel he was driven to con­tact Ms A be­cause of his own strug­gles with men­tal health.

“There was no in­ten­tion or thought to start up any kind of sex­ual or other re­la­tion­ship,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure she was OK and get­ting the help she needed.”

The of­fi­cer said Ms A had “struck a chord in my mind” be­cause he had suf­fered de­pres­sion, in­clud­ing thoughts about self-harm, for sev­eral years.

But Matthew Hold­croft, pre­sent­ing coun­sel, said: “The of­fi­cer did not con­tact the Force Con­trol Room, a hos­pi­tal, any men­tal health ser­vices or a su­per­vi­sor to alert them to the of­fi­cer’s al­leged con­cerns for Ms A. The of­fi­cer did not raise con­cern about Ms A with any third party or spe­cial­ist care provider.”

PC Wood said: “I’m truly sorry to Ms A, for the dis­tress and the anx­i­ety I have caused her to feel.”

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