We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Ex-PC found drunk in dog van guilty of misconduct in public office

Officer was dismissed without notice at earlier misconduct hearing although chief acknowledged psychological ill-health a contributing factor

A Northumbria dog handler who was found asleep at the wheel of her police van three times over the drink drive limit has been found guilty of misconduct in a public office at court.

Former PC Helen Kane, 38, who denied the charge, was dismissed without notice at an internal misconduct hearing in March, and will be sentenced in the court case in December.

Teeside court heard that a dog walker found PC Kane asleep behind the wheel of a parked police van on 3 November last year.

Three police dogs were seen inside the marked van, which was seen parked in the middle of a junction near Gateshead with its engine still running.

When the member of the public took a look inside, PC Kane could be seen "slumped" against the driver side with a bottle of white wine between her legs.

After being breathalysed she was found to have 117mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath. She pleaded guilty to drink driving in court last December but denied an additional charge of misconduct in a public office and that case at Teeside Court was heard last week.  

At an accelerated misconduct hearing held in March she was dismissed without notice. Chief Constable Winton Keenen who presided over the hearing said: “By consuming so much alcohol in the circumstances outlined the officer took a very significant risk with the reputation of the force.”

He added: “I do not suggest the officer set-out to deliberately cause harm to the Force, however, the undeniable reality is that this has been the outcome.”

However he said that the officer had shown “genuine remorse, insight and acceptance of responsibility.” He also acknowledged that “elements of psychological ill-health were very likely to have been a contributing factor,” in the case. This was also a single incident in an “otherwise exemplary career.”

But in dismissing the officer without notice he concluded: “There is an understandable expectation of the public that police officers will act at all times in ways that do not discredit the public service to which they dedicate their working lives. This has always been the case and indeed, is perhaps now the case more than ever before, as policing finds itself in a period of recogniseably increased and elevated levels of expectations from the public, regarding behaviours of serving officers; towards setting and achieving the high standards of behaviour to be expected of them by wider society.”                                                       

Leave a Comment
View Comments 9
In Other News
Fatal collision inquest concludes pursuit was “legitimate”
Neighbourhood and response teams to chip in on roads policing
Northumbria rural officers get advanced driver training
More News