Chief Constable Marsh Sacks PC Calling his Conduct Disgraceful

On 10th February 2021 at 9AM at Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters, Valley Road, Portishead,
BS20 8QJ a Misconduct Hearing under the provisions of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 took
place in relation to Police Constable A. This Hearing was heard virtually using Microsoft Teams.
It was alleged PC A has breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour for police officers,
specifically the standards of:
1) Authority, Respect and Courtesy;
2) Confidentiality;
3) Honesty and Integrity;
4) Duties and Responsibilities; and
5) Fitness for work.
It was evidenced that PC A:
1) Entered into a relationship with a young woman after coming into contact with her through the
course of his duties and purposely avoided disclosing the relationship to his supervisors, knowing
that the relationship was inappropriate.
2) Disclosed information relating to a police incident other than in the proper course of his duties
and to an unauthorised recipient.
3) Failed to act openly and honestly when requesting leave and falsely claimed to be sick.
4) Sought to acquire illegal drugs other than in the line of duty.
The Disciplinary action imposed by Chief Constable Marsh was– Dismissal without notice
Reasons: In coming to a decision on the disciplinary action to be imposed I am following the College
of Policing guidance on Outcomes in Police Misconduct Proceedings. The guidance confirms that
there are three stages to determining the appropriate sanction. Before I turn to these stages I want
to recognise the mitigation put forward by PC A who states that he wasn’t mentally capable of
undertaking the demanding role of policing.
Turning to the three stages of determining the appropriate sanction, the first of which is an
assessment of the seriousness of the misconduct. PC A is culpable for his conduct in respect of all of
the findings. There are multiple proven allegations which are unconnected and this is an aggravating
factor. The conduct that I have assessed extended throughout his whole, albeit short service indeed
the first finding of fact in relation to an inappropriate text message was just four days after PC A
joined the police. In continuing with an inappropriate relationship, PC A has abused his position and
had many ongoing opportunities to report concerns which he knew to be real, to his supervisor in
the weeks and months that followed.
I find the ongoing nature of this inappropriate relationship to be another aggravating factor. There
is a national concern over misconduct involving such abuse of authority and in coming to a sanction I
recognise the potential for this breach to undermine public trust and confidence and for these
reasons I regard it as particularly serious. The dishonesty involved in finding 3 is a further
aggravating factor
The second stage to determine the appropriate sanction is to be mindful of the purpose of the
imposition of the sanction. Fore mostly to maintain public confidence in and the reputation of the
policing profession as a whole. Whilst I recognise the mitigation put forward by PC A, this is
significantly outweighed by the essential importance of maintaining public confidence in their police
force. My view is that the public would regard all four aspects of my finding of gross misconduct to
be of the highest concern to them is a way that is likely to significantly damage their confidence
were it not dealt with by a sanction which most appropriately fulfils the purpose of maintaining
confidence. The highest standards need to be maintained within policing and I am mindful in coming
to a sanction of the need to be clear on the unacceptable nature of the breaches of conduct I have
heard about today. Finally I need to protect the public from the risk of further breaches. Especially
given the finding relating to dishonesty I cannot have confidence in the future conduct of PC A.
Turning finally to the question of the most appropriate sanction, my decision, taking all these
factors, including mitigation into account is that this is a particularly serious case for which the only
and most appropriate sanction can be dismissal without notice. In their own right each finding of
gross misconduct is serious enough to justify dismissal. Viewed collectively PC A’s conduct is nothing
short of disgraceful and the public must have full confidence that there is no place for such serious
misconduct within policing. PC A will be dismissed without notice and placed on the barred list so
that he can never have any involvement in any role in policing in the future

Avon & Somerset Constabulary
  • Stats since 1st January 2022
  • 22 Misconduct Hearings
    91% held in public