Hampshire police officers found guilty of misconduct should be named and shamed

Police officers who are found guilty of misconduct should be named and shamed, according to a commissioner.

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, recently spoke out against police officers keeping their anonymity after facing disciplinary proceedings.

It comes after a number of incidents where police officers could not be named by the press, after reporting restrictions were imposed.

Speaking at the police and crime panel in Winchester last week, Mrs Jones said: ‘There has been some national coverage around the public’s dissatisfaction with the anonymity of police complaints and hearings happening behind closed doors, and the lack of individuals being named once they’ve been punished.

‘I went to the Local Qualified Chairs Panel to reinforce that the starting point is that we hold hearings in public. In cases where they haven’t, I have also pushed for the publication of names at the end of the hearing – unless it puts the victim at risk of harm.

‘We raised this at the National Policing Board as well.’

In October last year, a Portsmouth police officer known only as Officer A was sacked for gross misconduct after pursuing a sexual relationship with a domestic abuse survivor, bombarding her with WhatsApp messages and calls while off duty and from his personal phone.

It wasn’t until his name appeared on the College of Policing’s barred list that he was named by The News in Portsmouth as PC Simon Bailey.

In June, a Hampshire police sergeant was also banned from the police service after using racial and homophobic slurs in messages to a woman he was secretly seeing.

Another high-profile case saw media publisher Newsquest go to the High Court to name former Basingstoke PC Terry Cooke, who was sacked for abusing his position to pursue relationships with vulnerable women he met through his job, including domestic abuse victims.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, who chaired the hearing, ruled that nothing could be reported about his identity, leaving the press to simply name him Sergeant X.

Complaints about the police and crime commissioner, handled by the police and crime panel’s complaints sub-committee, are also held in secret.

This was challenged by the Local Democracy Reporting Service last year over complaints filed against the former police and crime commissioner, Michael Lane.

The sub-committee also examined complaints about Mrs Jones’ now ex-deputy Luke Stubbs, following comments he made about gender equality at a fire and rescue service authority meeting. These and all other sub-committee meetings are all held in private, with the press and public excluded.

According to the police and crime commissioner’s press office, Donna Jones is currently on annual leave and so unable to comment.

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