Standards of professional behavior that have allegedly been breached
Former PC 7437 Shantell Woodward appeared before the Chief Constable John Campbell at an
Accelerated misconduct hearing on 1 August, 2022. She admitted to breaching the Standards of
Professional Behaviour in regard to Discreditable Conduct after driving her car while off duty and
colliding with a garden wall while over the prescribed limit. She appeared in court and was
disqualified from driving and received a fine.
The officer fully admitted that her behaviour amounted to Gross Misconduct and the Chief
Constable was in agreement for the following reasons:
I have considered all the papers submitted by the Appropriate Authority and am satisfied that all the
preliminary requirements have been complied with. Ms Woodward has been represented by the
Police Federation. I note that the former officer recently resigned from TVP and that she has
admitted that her drink driving behaviour on the 21st May amounted to Gross Misconduct.
This resignation followed her guilty plea and conviction that was found on the 20th June 2022 by
Oxford Magistrates. Given all the facts presented, I find that former officer Woodward is guilty of
discreditable conduct amounting to Gross Misconduct having received a conviction in a court of law.
In coming to my decision regarding whether any post resignation sanction should be imposed I have
considered the full circumstances of the proven conduct. All such matters are considered on a case
by case basis.
I have also considered the mitigation and representations made by Ms Woodward and on her behalf
by Insp Foy. I have had full access to her antecedents and reports by line managers. In her written
submission the ex-officer asks me to consider a FWW with an extended time limit. That is not
possible within the regulations.
I note that the Appropriate Authority remain neutral as to any sanction imposed and has
commented on the ex-officer’s full and positive engagement with PSD following the incident.
There is no doubt that this matter is out of character and otherwise tarnishes a very strong 12 year
career of protecting the public which had more to come. The ex-officer was destined for promotion
at some point and in addition to her core roles, supported the Force in matters of recruitment and
positive role modelling, she has gone above and beyond. She was held in high regard by colleagues
and her supervisors, who have commented on the shock at hearing of what occurred.
That said drink driving is a serious matter and it is only by sheer luck that no one was harmed. The
court has considered these matters and sanction imposed. That conviction is no doubt a source of
considerable shame to the ex-officer.
In considering my sanctions as a former employer of Ms Woodward I note the following.
Whilst in disciplinary hearings there may be a punitive element to my sanctions, the primary purpose
is to ensure that the officer does not have the opportunity to repeat the conduct and that the nature
of the behaviour is clearly identified as thoroughly unacceptable as a serving police officer.
With my finding of Gross Misconduct I have found that the ex-officers behaviour was totally
unacceptable and that finding is the most serious of all findings within Police Regulations.
The revised Police Conduct regulations do give me discretion following finding of Gross Misconduct
as to sanction, which does include dismissal had the officer still have been serving.
However crucially, Ms Woodward has already resigned from TVP, she no longer serves and therefore
the principle of the officer being able to repeat the conduct is void. Whilst serious in its own right
there are no integrity or dishonesty issues presented in respect of these matters and the officer has
already been punished by the court.
With this in mind and given the discretion afforded to me in these specific circumstances, whilst I
find Gross Misconduct, I impose no sanction. However, it is important to note, that had the officer
still been serving, I would have considered her actions incompatible with being an officer in TVP
Thames Valley Police
- Stats since 1st January 2022
15 Misconduct Hearings
87% held in public
Thames Valley Police covers Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.