A Dyfed-Powys Police officer has been dismissed without notice after gross misconduct was found proven at a force hearing, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Police Sergeant Karl Longhurst, 44, faced allegations of gross misconduct after being accused of having and failing to declare an inappropriate relationship with a woman who was a vulnerable victim of crime.
The IOPC investigation began in July 2020 after Dyfed-Powys Police referred a complaint made by the woman about the officer sending her messages of a sexual nature. PS Longhurst had been a custody sergeant in August 2017, and it was alleged that while taking a DNA swab from the woman detainee’s mouth he made a sexual comment to her. PS Longhurst, on occasions when off-duty, had engaged in consensual sexual activity with the woman some time before. The investigation looked into allegations that PS Longhurst had failed to report the pre-existing relationship to his supervisor as required to by force policy, and to recuse himself from dealing with the woman at the time when she came into custody. It was further alleged that between January and June 2020, despite being aware of the previous policing contact and of her vulnerabilities, he was messaging the woman in a proactive effort to rekindle their former relationship.
IOPC investigators interviewed the officer under caution, examined his mobile phone and reviewed text messages downloaded from the woman’s phone. At the end of our investigation in May last year, we submitted our report to the force with our view that PS Longhurst had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
A police disciplinary panel, led by a legally-qualified, independent Chair, determined on 10 November that the officer had breached the standards of professional behaviour in a number of areas including honesty and integrity, and discreditable conduct. It was decided he would be dismissed without notice.
IOPC Director for Wales, Catrin Evans said: “While any sexual contact with the woman took place off duty, PS Longhurst had ample opportunity to report the relationship but failed to do so, contrary to force policy. He evidently displayed a lack of integrity and admitted unacceptable conduct towards a female detainee entrusted into his care while performing a critically important role as custody sergeant. Some time later, despite knowing of the woman’s vulnerabilities and past policing contact, he was messaging her in a sexualised manner in an attempt to renew their relationship.
“In our view PS Longhurst’s behaviour risked undermining public confidence in policing and amounted to gross misconduct. The police disciplinary panel having considered the evidence has decided to dismiss him without notice.”
PS Longhurst will now be placed on the police barred list.
Dyfed Powys Police
- Stats since 1st January 2022
4 Misconduct Hearings
75% held in public