A POLICE officer who told colleagues he was going to have a “w*nkathon” will face another misconduct panel hearing after a judge quashed most of the findings of the first panel.
PC Simon England, of Dyfed-Powys Police, was alleged to have carried out five acts of misconduct between December, 2017 and April, 2018, including two allegations of touching a female colleague without permission or invitation.
The panel concluded that, on the balance of probability, all the factual allegations were proved, that PC England breached certain professional standards, and that he had to be dealt on the basis of gross misconduct.
Elliot Gold, representing the force, had argued for an outcome of dismissal without notice and, citing a submission from the deputy chief constable, said PC England would be “undeployable” as it wouldn’t be appropriate for the officer to have any further contact with female victims of crime.
But the chairman of the panel disagreed, adding that the panel had been mindful of the officer’s “unblemished” service from 2011 to 2017.
The chairman also said PC England had been experiencing deteriorating mental health at the time, making dismissal without notice “a disproportionate outcome”.
The panel issued PC England with a final written warning, considering his actions to be “a part of a wholly inappropriate, misguided, crass and objectionable series of attempts” to make friends with the officer.
The chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police then sought a judicial review of the panel’s decision.
The review by Judge Matthew Nicklin concluded that the panel’s fact-finding in relation to four of the alleged incidents was flawed.
Mr Justice Nicklin said one of these – which was alleged to have involved touching a colleague while in a hospital – was the most serious.
His judgement said: “Arguably, the failure by the tribunal to address each incident, in a systematic and structured way, also led to a failure to appreciate the seriousness of the conduct of PC England.”
Mr Justice Nicklin did not consider the panel’s decision relating to the fifth allegation to be open to legal challenge.
In conclusion, he quashed the panel’s disciplinary findings for four of the alleged incidents, quashed the outcome decision, and required the matter to be put before a differently constituted misconduct panel.
In a statement, Dyfed-Powys Police chief constable Mark Collins said: “I welcome the detailed judgement provided in this case and, in line with the recommendations, arrangements will be made to convene a fresh misconduct panel.
“I expect the highest standards of professional behaviour from all officers and staff and those who fail to meet these standards will be held to account.”