Standards of professional behavior that have allegedly been breached
- Authority, respect and courtesy
Sanction: Dismissal Without Notice
On 1–3 August 2022 PS Adams appeared at a misconduct hearing, which was conducted by:
Legally Qualified Chair: Harry Ireland
Independent Panel Member: Bryan McAlley
Panel Member: Superintendent Marc Clothier
The breach of standard(s) of professional behaviour alleged were as follows:
Being a police officer with Sussex Police, on diverse dates in 2014 you breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour set out Schedule 2 to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 by behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner towards a victim of sexual assault.
In the early hours of Saturday 29 March 2014 you were on duty when Female A made an allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by a male at a wine bar in Hastings. You took a statement from Female A detailing the sexual assault, and subsequently arrested the male. You were the officer who led on the investigation of Female A’s allegation on the night it was made.
During the course of taking Female A’s statement, whilst sitting in your police car, you made sexually inappropriate remarks towards her.
Female A provided you with her mobile phone number and you gave her your personal phone number. Within 24 hours of taking her statement, without any invitation, you sent Female A a full length photograph of yourself, naked. You sent further messages of a personal and/or sexual nature to Female A who did not respond to your advances.
Female A’s allegation of sexual assault led to her testifying in the Crown Court. You saw Female A at court and asked her why she had not replied to your messages and why she had never met up with you. Again Female A did not respond to your advances and sat apart from you.
Breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour
The matters aforesaid amount, individually and/or collectively, to gross misconduct and to breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour of:
Authority, Respect and Courtesy in that it was disrespectful, discourteous, and an abuse of your position as the officer in the case to make sexual advances towards Ms A in the manner outlined in paragraphs 1 to 4 above;
Discreditable Conduct, in that sexually inappropriate behaviour by a police officer towards a complainant of sexual assault is capable of undermining public confidence in, and bringing discredit on, the Police Service.
In receiving the evidence, we heard from Ms A and Ms B together with PS Adams, the remainder of the evidence being by way of documentation.
In conclusion we find that the allegations in respect of the remarks made by PS Adams to A in the police car and the sending of the photograph on a balance of probabilities, proved and breached the Standards in relation to Authority, Respect and Courtesy and amounted to Discreditable Conduct.
We did not find the allegation in respect of the time at the Crown Court proven as the evidence was too vague. Neither A nor B could expand upon their suggestion of flirtatious behaviour other than A saying PS Adams asking her why she had not contacted him. Without further context, that is insufficient to prove the allegation.
PS Adams, your conduct in respect of allegations of the Regulation 30 Notice has been assessed as breaching the following Standards of Professional Behaviour:
Authority, respect, and courtesy
and the acts complained of amounted to Gross Misconduct.
The purpose of the misconduct hearing is threefold:
Firstly, to protect the public confidence in and the reputation of policing.
Secondly, to maintain the high professional standards by demonstrating to other officers that misconduct will not be tolerated.
Thirdly, to protect the public and/or officers and staff by preventing the officers from committing similar misconduct again.
In determining the appropriate sanction, we took into account the following matters:
The conduct was intentional and deliberate.
Predatory behaviour seeking a sexual relationship with a member of the public and victim of crime.
A vulnerable victim as A was a victim of a sexual offence.
Breach of trust given the parties respective positions.
Damage to the reputation of the police and the undermining of public confidence.
Conduct involving sexual abuse.
Psychological distress to some degree to A.
Deliberate and predatory behaviour.
Abuse of trust.
Vulnerability of A.
National concern in relation to such matters.
We acknowledge that we have taken into account several matters that have been noted before and avoided any element of ‘double counting.
Actions limited in duration.
your service record and high regard in which you are held combined with your continuing to perform your duties whilst under investigation and pending the hearing.
The matter complained of was 8 years ago but balanced with the fact that you had subsequently been the subject of both a Written Warning and a Final Written Warning.
As a result of this misconduct hearing the following was found and imposed with effect from today:
Dismissal without notice
- Stats since 1st January 2022
15 Misconduct Hearings
73% held in public