A DORSET Police sergeant pursued ‘improper’ relationships with student officers under his supervision, a misconduct hearing found.
The officer, who resigned from the force before the action, was found guilty of gross misconduct during a hearing at police headquarters in Winfrith on Tuesday, January 3.
The hearing considered allegations the former sergeant had breached the standards of professional behaviour concerning use of force, authority, respect and courtesy, duties and responsibilities.
It was found the former officer pursued improper emotional relationships with three female student officers on his team.
During this time, in June 2021, he received management action by way of words of advice from a senior officer about pursuing an inappropriate relationship with one of these student officers on his team, who he directly supervised.
Between Tuesday, April 13, 2021 and Thursday, May 26 the following year, the former sergeant pursued and an improper emotional relationship with a female student officer within Dorset Police.
The panel found he had pursued and established a second emotional and improper relationship with another student female police officer between Tuesday, June 1, 2021 and Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
It was found that on both occasions the former sergeant sent text messages to the women that were improper, flirtatious and of an unprofessional nature.
Both officers were junior in rank and status to him and he held direct supervisory responsibility for them.
Prior to the hearing, the officer resigned from Dorset Police.
However, it was determined by the hearing panel, led by an independent legally qualified chair, that the former sergeant had breached the standards of professional behaviour and was guilty of gross misconduct.
It was found that, had he still been employed by Dorset Police, he would have been dismissed.
The independent legally qualified chair ruled that the officer could not be named.
Following the hearing, Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya, Dorset Police’s lead for professional standards, said: “It is unacceptable for a sergeant in a position of authority to pursue inappropriate relationships with colleagues under their supervision and care.
“This officer should have known that the relationships he was pursuing were unprofessional, improper and an abuse of his position.
“Our officers are duty bound to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity at all times. We promote an inclusive police service for everyone and having heard the evidence presented the misconduct hearing has found him guilty of gross misconduct.
“We are pleased that the officers concerned have found the courage to stand up to this behaviour and Dorset Police will fully support them moving forward.
“The outcome of this case sends out a clear message to our officers, staff and to the public that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and robust investigations will be carried out into anyone who is suspected of misconduct.
“If you have any concerns in respect of any member of the organisation failing to uphold professional standards of behaviour, we would encourage you to please report your concerns to Dorset Police so they can be thoroughly investigated.”
* Anyone can report any concerns to Dorset Police by calling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corruption can also be reported online at www.dorset.police.uk/contact/report-police-corruption/.
Alternatively, members of the public can contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – details of which can be found via their website www.policeconduct.gov.uk or anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or freephone 0800 555 111.