Former PC took drugs panel told
AFORMER Bristol police constable had allegations of gross misconduct proven against her after admitting to using cannabis before she took a drugs test.
PC Harriet Wood, who used to be the neighbourhood beat manager in Filwood and Knowle West before she resigned, told her chief inspector she had been smoking cannabis.
The confession came three days after she had submitted a sample for a test to determine if she had consumed controlled drugs.
A police misconduct hearing on Friday was told that Ms Wood told her inspector she had been using cannabis and had done so until a week before her admission on April 6 this year.
But the results of the drugs test showed that at the time of testing, there were no controlled drugs within her system.
The misconduct hearing found she would have been dismissed had she not resigned during the investigation.
During the hearing the panel heard that Ms Wood had used cannabis “on a number of occasions” between January and March of this year.
She claimed that she used the drug because she was suffering from “anxiety and insomnia”.
She alleged her mental health problems were a result of issues with her “training and supervision” while at Avon and Somerset police.
But Anthony Searle, presenting the case, said there was no evidence to support the claims she had made about her work, or a note from her GP to confirm her health problems. He also said that even if they were true, that was “not an excuse”. The panel heard that in October last year Ms Wood had been asked to attend an “ethical interview” with the anti-corruption unit. The focus of the interview was Ms Wood’s relationship with her partner at the time and “his use of controlled drugs”.
During his submissions Mr Searle told the panel that following this interview Ms Wood was “clearly aware of the serious concern the force already had about her being associated with controlled drugs”.
Ms Wood did not attend Friday’s hearing, nor did she send a representative.
It was also revealed that Ms Wood refused to attend a formal disciplinary interview during the investigation.
Mr Searle told the panel that she had said: “Since resigning I am now moving on with my life so I am not willing to be interview.”
In handing down the panel’s decision, chair Alex Lock, said Ms Wood’s conduct did breach standards of professional behaviour – in respect to orders and instructions and discreditable conduct – and that it was gross misconduct.
Mr Lock added: “The actions of this officer would harm the public confidence of the police if they were known to the public.
“It is not acceptable for an officer to be enforcing the law during the day and then breaking it at night.”