Suffolk policeman had relationship with domestic abuse victim

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The former Suffolk police officer involved has been placed on the Police Barred List. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk police officer had a sexual relationship with a domestic abuse victim he met through work - and then quit before a misconduct hearing took place.

In May 2019 another serving police officer, who was friends with the domestic abuse victim, reported the matter to her supervisor after being informed about the relationship.

Suffolk Constabulary referred the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

During the IOPC's investigation, they interviewed the officer who had been reported in relation to allegations of Misconduct in Public Office and Abuse of Position for Sexual Purpose.

They also examined mobile phone records and obtained statements from several witnesses, including police officers.

Statements were also obtained from the vulnerable domestic violence victim, and their mobile phone messages were downloaded.

The IOPC decided that the police officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and Suffolk Constabulary agreed with their opinion.

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The force arranged a misconduct hearing, but the officer resigned and left the force on March 30, 2020, before the hearing, which took place on May 7, 2020.

At the hearing, gross misconduct was proven and the officer would have been dismissed if he had still been a serving officer.

The former officer was also placed on the Police Barred List.

The IOPC said throughout the investigation it looked carefully at whether there were any opportunities for learning or improvement, but did not identify any such opportunities.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: “We take any allegations of misconduct very seriously, but particularly those of a sexual nature given the trusted position police officers work in.

 “We have robust processes in place to deal with complaints and allegations made against officers and those in police roles. These matters will be thoroughly investigated and where there is a case to answer, misconduct procedures will take place.

 “Any allegation concerning abuse of position for a sexual purpose are referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation which is standard procedure.

 “In the event of misconduct procedures taking place, misconduct hearings are carried out by an independent panel headed by a legally qualified chair. The chair and panel’s decision is completely independent of the police and based on the evidence given."