Police officer cleared following misconduct allegations
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A Suffolk police officer has been cleared of misconduct amid accusations he placed a vulnerable woman's hand on his groin.
The male Pc, who has not been named by the force, was alleged to have acted inappropriately and in a sexualised way towards the woman in 2020.
At a force misconduct hearing held in Ipswich in October, it was also alleged the officer stood between the woman's legs and fell on top of her in the bedroom at her home.
The officer denied those allegations but did admit he "lifted a small amount of clothing to show a section of his tattoo on his back".
The panel heard that the officer responded to a call in December 2020, stating a woman was in distress.
Having arrived on scene, the officer discovered the woman - referred to as Ms B - was someone he had provided similar assistance to a month previously.
With the agreement of the control room, the officer drove the woman home. He entered the property as the woman felt unsafe and was there for under 20 minutes.
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He gave Ms B his business card, which contained his work phone number and work email address.
After the officer left Ms B’s home, there was an exchange of text messages initiated by her.
Later, there was a short exchange of texts, again initiated by Ms B, in which the officer, who at the time was working night shifts, confirmed he would return to her home around 11pm the following night.
It was during the second visit that the alleged misconduct took place in the bedroom.
But after considering the evidence, the panel concluded that what happened during the second visit to Ms B's home was as described by the officer.
It also concluded that the officer was not in breach of the standards concerning honesty, integrity, authority, respect and courtesy.
However, the panel did find that, on his own account, the officer breached the standard concerning discreditable conduct.
In the published outcome, the panel said: "The public expects serving police officers to maintain high standards of behaviour both on and off duty.
"The panel is in no doubt that an officer who exposes part of his torso to a vulnerable person, late at night and in that person’s home has the potential to bring discredit to the police service or undermine public confidence in it."
However, the officer's breach did not amount to misconduct or gross misconduct, the panel found.
The matter was referred to be dealt with under the reflective practice review process, which gives officers the opportunity to discuss their actions. It is not a disciplinary process.