PC Courtney Cooper Misconduct Hearing Outcome

Outcome published Fri 23rd Sep 2022, 12 working days after the hearing ended

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Officer(s)

Standards of professional behavior that have allegedly been breached

  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Conduct

Allegations Proven

  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Conduct

Sanction: Resigned

Summary

As Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police and Chair of this hearing, I am discharging my obligation to consider the evidence available to me to provide for a fair hearing, maintain the confidence of the public and set out clearly the expectations I have of the officers and staff in Staffordshire Police.

These proceedings are not designed to punish officers and I am very focussed on the confidence in standing of Staffordshire Police – both of which can be damaged by the behaviour and conduct of officers like Former Officer Cooper. This is about setting standards for those of us in positions of trust to ensure they are adhered to.

As a serving officer, PC Cooper was expected to do the right thing. To uphold their oath of office and to apply the Code of Ethics, their behaviour and failure to do either of those things has brought them to this hearing today.

As a Former Officer, the only options available to me in this hearing in accordance with the Police Conduct Regulations 2020 – as follows;

Where the Chair finds that the conduct amounts to misconduct only, they will record the finding but cannot take any further action.

Where there is a finding of gross misconduct, the chair can only consider two potential outcomes: disciplinary action or no disciplinary action.

Where there is a finding of gross misconduct and disciplinary action imposed it can only be that the former officer would have been dismissed if they had still been a member of a police force. There is no option to enforce other sanctions such as a final written warning or reduction in rank given the termination in the former officer’s employment status. If the Chair determines that the matter does not justify the sanction that the former officer would have been dismissed, no action will be taken and the finding of Gross Misconduct recorded.
I confirm I have read Former PC Cooper’s limited response under Regulation 54 of the Conduct Regulations. Former Officer Cooper in her Regulation 54 response has accepted the allegation before her and accepted that allegation amounts to Gross Misconduct.

Former Officer Cooper declined to attend the hearing and has been represented in her absence by the Police Federation. I have considered both her staff history and training record. I also acknowledge the representations made on her behalf from her Federation Representative. I have reflected on the mitigation provided by Former PC Cooper. I note former PC Cooper’s acceptance of the allegation.

Culpability is clear and admitted.

In discharging my obligations to maintain public confidence, uphold high standards, deter future misconducts and protect the public, on considering the representations made by Former Officer Cooper.

I have found the alleged breach of standards of professional behaviour are proven.

Furthermore, I have found the breaches are so serious they constitute Gross Misconduct.

The matters constitute a breach of the standards of professional behaviour in relation to standards:

Standard 6 of the Codes of Professional Behaviour: Duties and Responsibilities
Standard 9 of the Codes of Professional Behaviour: Discreditable Conduct

The finding is: Gross Misconduct

The disciplinary action imposed is: As a former officer the only option available to me is to find that PC Cooper would have been dismissed should she still have been serving as a Police Officer. This outcome has the consequence that the individual will be included on the barred list.

The reasons for that finding are:

The Breaches of the Standards if Professional Behaviour are both clearly made out and admitted.

Police Officers must behave in a manner which does not discredit the Police Service or undermine public confidence in the police service either on or off duty. It is wholly unacceptable for Police Officers to engage in the taking of illegal substances. In doing so with members of the public who were aware of your career as a Police Officer it is damaging to your personal reputation, the reputation of Staffordshire Police and the Police service.

Staffordshire Police
  • Stats since 1st January 2022
  • 5 Misconduct Hearings
    100% held in public


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