Breaking Kent

A Kent Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) has been dismissed without notice after a disciplinary hearing was told he had formed inappropriate relationships with vulnerable women he met on duty

The outcome follows an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.

At misconduct proceedings, arranged by the force, his actions were proven to constitute gross misconduct.

He formed inappropriate relationships with vulnerable women whom he had met through the course of his duties as victims of crime.

His conduct came to light after an internal audit by the force identified a significant volume of communications between the PCSO’s work phone and numbers associated to vulnerable women. Evidence gathered by our investigators indicated that he was in touch with the women over several months and some of these communications had occurred when the officer was off duty or on sickness leave.

A disciplinary panel, chaired by a senior ranking Kent Police officer, concluded the PCSO breached the standards of professional behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy. 

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said:

“A Police Community Support Officer role is, arguably, one of the most public facing roles within any police service, often vital to building and maintaining confidence in policing among those in the area they serve. 

“Any officer who abuses their position of trust and power by engaging, or attempting to, in inappropriate relationships with vulnerable women can have no place in policing.

“He met the women when he was on patrol. He breached the high standards of professional behaviour expected of police personnel and has rightly been dismissed without notice.

“We are working hard to ensure police forces refer all allegations of abuse of position for sexual purpose to us and we continue to help identify this abuse of trust as early as possible.”

Our independent investigation began following a referral from Kent Police in March 2019 and concluded in May 2020. We considered evidence including mobile phone records, police logs and witness accounts. Coupled with the PCSO’s response to interview questions, it was decided there was a case to answer for gross misconduct, which was agreed by Kent Police.

We made learning recommendations to Kent Police which have been accepted. They were:

  • Improved oversight of PCSOs and more effective recording of their work
  • To ensure officers and staff with Body Worn Video (BWV) are aware of the retention category related to vulnerable people
  • For Kent Police to provide their operational employees with clarity on the different definitions of the term ‘vulnerable’

The disciplinary hearing was held on Monday 22 March 2021. The PCSO will be placed on the barred list preventing him from future employment with the Police Service.