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Dorset sergeant struck off for having phone sex with student officer

The sergeant of 20 years has been granted anonymity by the legally qualified chair.

A Dorset sergeant with 20 years' service has been struck off for having “phone sex” with a student officer and sending “flirtatious” messages to another trainee, despite having received management action by "words of advice" from a senior officer, a misconduct hearing has heard. 

A disciplinary panel chaired by an LQC has found the officer committed three counts of misconduct between April 2021 and May 2022 - by pursuing improper relationships with the officers he was directly in charge of.

The sergeant had previously admitted the allegations and resigned in August 2022. He did not attend the hearing.

An anonymity order has been imposed to “protect the welfare of family members of the officer concerned”.

LQC Deni Matthews ruled that the sergeant had committed gross misconduct and said he would have been dismissed without notice. He will therefore be placed on the barred list. 

“These were individuals who were members of his team, he was in a position to influence their careers,” he said.

“We conclude the only disposal capable of maintaining public confidence in the police service is that, had the officer not resigned, we would have imposed an immediate notice of dismissal.”

Outlining the offences for the force, Ian Darcy said: “Having previously received management action by way of words of advice from a senior officer on 25 June 2021 about pursuing an inappropriate relationship with a student officer on his team who he directly supervised, the officer continued to pursue and establish improper emotional relationships with two other female student officers on his team.

“Between 1 June 2021 and 31 May 2022 the officer pursued and established an improper emotional relationship with Officer A, a student female officer within Dorset Police.

“The officer sent text messages to her that were improper, flirtatious and of an unprofessional nature.

“Officer A was junior in rank and status to the officer, and he held direct supervisory responsibility for her.

“She also reported being a victim of domestic abuse during this time, which the officer was aware of.”

He continued to outline that between April 13 2021 and May 26 2022, the officer pursued and established an improper emotional relations with Officer B, a student female officer within Dorset.

He had sent text messages to her that were improper, flirtatious and of an unprofessional nature.

The sergeant held direct supervisory responsibility for her.

Mr Darcy added that Officer A had told another colleague that she had “prevented him from sending dick pics that he might regret” and she had also said that “essentially we had phone sex”.

Officer A also told how she had gone back to the officer’s home after a night out and engaged in a “consensual sexual act” with him.

Officer B had said that messages from the officer began about four weeks after she joined the officer’s team and he would call her “sweety” and also send messages with kisses, Mr Darcy said.

He added: “She felt the messages were testing the boundaries on being flirtatious. The officer has not hidden his attempts to flirt with Officer B, several times he has pointed out his flirting, to point out his feelings for her.”

Mr Darcy said that the officer had also sent flirtatious messages to a third officer, referred to as Officer C, who he also kissed in the garage of his home.

He said: “He was nearly caught by his son, which he said was a massive wake-up call, but only a few weeks after this moral epiphany, this wake-up call, he was engaged with flirtatious messages with Officers A and B.”

In a statement read to the court, the officer of 20 years’ service, who has received commendations for his service, apologised for his actions and said he was “personally disappointed with myself”.

Following the hearing, Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya, Dorset Police’s lead for professional standards, said that the sergeant’s behaviour was “unacceptable”.

“It is unacceptable for a sergeant in a position of authority to pursue inappropriate relationships with colleagues under his supervision and care,” she said.

“This officer should have known that the relationships he was forming 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.”

She added that the outcome of the case sent a “clear message” to the police and the public that “robust investigations” will be be carried out into anyone who is suspected of misconduct.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

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