Former PCSO who sent ‘graphic photos’ to woman would have been dismissed for gross misconduct

A former Derbyshire Constabulary police community support officer (PCSO) who sent “inappropriate and graphic photographs” to a woman would have been dismissed had he not already resigned.

Jul 19, 2023
By Paul Jacques

It was alleged that the officer had abused his position by engaging in sexualised conversations with a member of the public whom he had met through the course of his duties in April 2022.

At a disciplinary hearing it was determined that he had breached standards of professional behaviour and would have been dismissed for gross misconduct.

The hearing was told the PCSO had made contact with the woman via Facebook and sent her inappropriate and graphic photographs, including of a male groin area, as well as commenting that he wanted to see some of her tattoos. He also asked her if she had any sex videos.

The PCSO resigned from the force in May last year and an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began the same month following a referral from the force about the conduct of the officer.

“Our investigation assessed data from the PCSO’s personal mobile phone where many messages were found which did not serve a legitimate policing purpose, were flirtatious and represented an effort by the officer to establish and maintain contact with the woman,” said the IOPC.

“From the conversations we examined on Facebook and WhatsApp, they appeared to show that he had discussed keeping a ‘secret’, indicating that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong and may have been taking steps to conceal it.”

During its investigation, the IOPC interviewed the officer, examined his mobile phone and obtained statements from several witnesses, including the woman he had been contacting.

“At the end of our investigation in October 2022, we found that the PCSO had a case to answer for gross misconduct,” it added.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “Anyone working in policing is expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times and are rightly held to certain standards when it comes to their interactions with members of the public. The abuse of police powers for sexual purpose has a profound impact on victims.

“Our independent investigation concluded that the officer in this case abused his position by actively pursuing unprofessional contact with a female member of the public. The officer failed in his duty to maintain appropriate boundaries.

“Following a gross misconduct hearing, it was determined the officer would have dismissed without notice, had he still been serving, highlighting that behaviour of this type will not be tolerated in policing.”

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