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Love Island former PC admits lying at disciplinary hearing

A former Greater Manchester PC who took part in the reality TV show Love Island has admitted lying to take a day off at a disciplinary hearing.

Mike Boateng, who was a contestant in the recent winter series of the televison programme, admitted lying about being fit for duty after returning from holiday in New York “out of panic”.

The disciplinary hearing, chaired by Merseyside Chief Constable Andy Cooke, was told he had previously been a victim of racism during his time with Greater Manchester Police and this had influenced his decision-making.

Mr Boateng had messaged a colleague claiming there were problems with his flight back to the UK on 6 December 2018 and as a result was unable to work a shift on 7 December. He returned to work a day later and blamed British Airways for a mix up when asked for proof about the delay.

Mr Boateng, who appeared by video link for the hearing, accepted his conduct amounted to gross misconduct but said he had been driven by "clear mitigating circumstances".

Judy Khan QC, representing Boateng, said: "It is unfortunate that very early on in his training he experienced incidents which caused him very serious concerns."

Incidents had included being mistaken by superior officers for a footballer convicted of match-fixing and being called a gorilla by another trainee.

The racism allegation was investigated by the force in 2017 and resulted in five officers being dealt with under the Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure.

His QC said: “Mr Boateng's clear impression was that he was being treated differently to fellow recruits and that persisted beyond his training."

Ms Khan also revealed that at the time of the incident he was facing two allegations - which he had denied and were subsequently dropped - and that he was also under scrutiny for his sickness record.

Due to jetlag, she said: "He acted in a way which was wholly out of character for him. He lied out of panic."

The 24-year-old, who joined the force in January 2017, quit in December last year to go on Love Island, a dating reality TV series in which 12 contestants swap partners until they find a love match.

The top prize for February’s series, which took place at a villa in South Africa, was £50,000. Among the other contestants were a coffee bean salesman and the heir to an estate in Cornwall.

Mr Boateng, a former professional footballer who was described by the Radio Times as “the villa’s lothario”, narrowly missed winning after pairing up with model Priscilla Anyabu.

The hearing ruled that he had breached standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct.

Mr Cooke said that at the time of the incident Mr Boateng was clearly suffering from stress. If he was still serving he would have been given a final written warning rather than dismissal. His name will not be added to the College of Policing barred list.

Mr Boateng reacted to discussions about his case on Twitter: “The investigation is to do with missing 1 day off work... I repeat, 1 day off work!”

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