Police officer keeps his job following ‘crass’ behaviour
A POLICE officer who admitted telling colleagues he was planning a “****athon” has received a final written warning.
PC Simon England, of Dyfed-Powys Police, was also alleged to have repeatedly touched a female colleague and made inappropriate sexual comments – but he denied ever touching the woman sexually.
The panel at a misconduct hearing concluded on the final day of proceedings that, on the balance of probability, all the factual allegations were proved that he breached certain professional standards, and that he had to be dealt with on the basis of gross misconduct.
Elliot Gold, representing the force, had argued for an outcome of dismissal without notice and, reading out a submission from the deputy chief constable, said again that PC England would be “undeployable” as it wouldn’t be appropriate for the officer to have any further contact with female victims of crime.
However, panel chair Peter Griffiths QC told the hearing the panel had unanimously determined the proportionate outcome was a final written warning.
He added: “The panel noted the views of the deputy chief constable but do not accept that it will be impossible to deploy the officer operationally in the future.
“The panel has determined that there were exceptional circumstances existing at the time of the officer’s offending relating to his deteriorating mental health which would render dismissal without notice a disproportionate outcome.”
In respect of his alleged conduct towards a female colleague on two separate occasions in 2017, the panel found that the actions of 37-year-old PC England – who is now carrying out an office-based role at headquarters, but was previously based in Llanelli – were not sexual or intended to be.
However, the panel considered his actions to be “a part of a wholly inappropriate, misguided, crass and objectionable series of attempts” by PC England to make friends with the officer.
Catherine Richards, representing PC England, said dismissing the officer – who joined Dyfed-Powys Police in July, 2017 – wouldn’t be necessary or appropriate.
“The mitigating factors are significant,” she added. “There was a deterioration to his mental health and the signs were there.
“Rather than checking or speaking with him, there is a clear impression they sat back and waited for him to fail.
“Back on November 1, there was a clear concern from a colleague on his welfare.”
Ms Richards said the three incidents happened against the background of clinical depression, adding that he had been found to be an honest witness and that there were no records of complaints from members of the public. She added that, with appropriate support, PC England would be deployable.
Dyfed-Powys Police deputy chief constable Claire Parmenter said the force expected the highest standards of professional behaviour from its officers and staff, both on and off duty.
She said: “PC England’s behaviour as set out in this case has fallen far below the standards required of a police officer at DyfedPowys Police and this has been recognised by the investigation undertaken by the Professional Standards Department at the misconduct hearing panel who have found parts of the case to be proven as amounting to misconduct and gross misconduct.
“Following careful consideration it has been the decision of the misconduct hearing panel, which is chaired by an independent legally qualified chair, to issue PC England with a final written warning which will remain in force for a period of 18 months.”
Dyfed-Powys Police headquarters in Carmarthen.