Pc who used job to pursue women leaves role before hearing is held
OFFICER’S ACTIONS AMOUNTED TO GROSS MISCONDUCT, HEARING FINDS
A police officer abused his position to pursue inappropriate relationships with women he met in the course of his duties, an internal misconduct panel has concluded.
Pc Norman Watson, who left Leicestershire Police before his hearing took place last week, had formed emotional and/or sexual relationships with three women since early last year.
His actions came to light in August last year when the force, which he had served for 13 years, examined his work phone and other devices.
That uncovered conversations between the officer and the women he had met through his job.
He was suspended when his conduct came to light and the Independent Office for Police Conduct, (IOPC), was informed. The IOPC has released details of the case.
In messages to a woman he met in May last year following a death in her family Pc Watson, who ended his posts with kisses, shared his personal phone number and encouraged her to use it, the IOPC said.
He also told her he wished he could have “taken her in his arms” on the first day they met.
Pc Watson entered into a romantic relationship with a second woman whose daughter had raised concerns with police following a suspected overdose in January this year, the police watchdog said.
The woman was given Pc
number when she contacted the force to thank him and within weeks, the pair were in a romantic relationship which the officer kept secret from his supervisors.
In text messages to a third woman, the officer used language deemed inappropriate, including the words “hun” and “darling”. Of 300 text messages, 17 were deemed inappropriate, according to the IOPC.
Pc Watson was also found to have accessed confidential police systems to obtain personal information about one of the women without lawful authority while off duty.
The allegations of gross misconduct made against Pc Watson were found proven at a hearing chaired by
Chief Constable Simon Cole at force headquarters, in Enderby, on Tuesday.
It concluded he would have been sacked immediately had he still been a serving officer.
Speaking after the hearing, Derrick Campbell, regional director for the IOPC, said: “Police officers are held to certain standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public and they are expected to conduct themselves professionally.
“The abuse of police powers for purposes of sexual exploitation is a form of serious corruption.
“It has a devastating impact on victims, and a serious impact on the public’s confidence in individual officers and the service in general.
“It is important there are effective systems in place to prevent, monitor and deal swiftly with any individual who exploits that trust.
“Our independent investigation concluded the officer in this case abused his position by actively pursuing inappropriate relationships with female members of the public.
“In doing so, he has breached the police standards of professional behaviour, betrayed a vulnerable woman and has undermined public confidence in police.
“Following an accelerated gross misconduct hearing, it was determined the force would have dismissed the officer without notice, had he still been serving, which sends a clear message such behaviour has no part in policing.”
Details of the case have been sent to the College of Policing which maintains a barred list to prevent sacked officers returning.