Former Dorset Police officer would have been dismissed after gross misconduct proven
A former Dorset Police officer would have been dismissed if he was still serving after gross misconduct was found proven, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Ex-police constable Robert Hopper, 42, faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of having inappropriate contact with a woman he had met through his policing duties who was a victim of domestic abuse.
Between September 2021 and January this year he was alleged to have sent a series of emails to the woman from his work account which were improper and flirtatious in nature. He also used WhatsApp messaging via his personal phone to communicate with the woman in an unprofessional manner. He met the woman once at her home and this was without proper policing purpose.
The IOPC investigation began in January following a referral about the officer’s conduct from Dorset Police. Investigators interviewed the officer and analysed the PC’s work account and phones. At the end of our investigation, we submitted our report to the force with our view that PC Hopper had a case to answer for gross misconduct. The officer resigned from the force in May.
At a police disciplinary hearing before the Chief Constable, it was determined yesterday (Thursday) that ex-PC Hopper, had breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in a number of areas including authority, respect and courtesy, and discreditable conduct. It was decided he would have been dismissed had he still been serving.
IOPC regional director David Ford said: “Cases such as these have the real potential to impact on public confidence in the police. At the outset of their service, it is made clear to officers that it is unacceptable to have or seek inappropriate and unprofessional contact with members of the public who they deal with through their professional duties.
“PC Hopper’s improper conduct is exacerbated by the fact that he was the allocated officer in charge of the woman’s domestic abuse case. Following a gross misconduct hearing it has been determined that he would have been dismissed had he still been serving. This sends a clear message that behaviour of this kind has no part in policing and will not be tolerated.”
Mr Hopper will now be placed on the police barred list.