Police officer hit man in face while off-duty and then lied about it to her force

A police officer hit a man in the face and then lied to her colleagues about it, an internal misconduct hearing has ruled.

The constable committed the act of violence when she was off duty in December 2019.

She resigned from Leicestershire Police before the force was able to bring the matter to a misconduct hearing.

The hearing took place over three days this month, and concluded she was guilty of gross misconduct and would have been dismissed immediately had she still been serving.

The hearing took place in private and the chairman of the panel, who is legally qualified but ‘independent’ of the police, ruled she could not be named by the media.

The hearing took place between Monday and Wednesday, June 14 to 16.

In a statement issued the following week, the force said: “It was found that the former officer’s off-duty conduct on 14 December 2019, breached the standards of professional behaviour, namely discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity.

“The hearing found it proven that the former officer deliberately struck a man to the face without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, causing an injury to his nose.

“They also found it proven that when a force call handler spoke to the former officer about the incident on the same evening, the former officer deliberately misled the call handler when asked about if anything had happened or why the police may have been called.

“The panel determined that had the officer still been serving in the force, she would have been dismissed with immediate effect.”

In response to questions from LeicestershireLive, the force added: “The allegation involving the officer was fully investigated and a file sent to the CPS (the Crown Prosecution Service).

“The CPS determined that there was no realistic prospect of conviction and therefore no further action was taken in relation to criminal proceedings.”

Detective Superintendent Rich Ward, head of the force’s professional standards department, said: “The public and the force expect all our officers and staff to uphold the highest and most professional standards of behaviour both on and off duty.

“The actions of the officer fell below this standard of behaviour expected and it was therefore determined that misconduct proceedings should take place.

“The panel in the misconduct hearing, which was led by an independently legally qualified chair, found that gross misconduct had been committed and that had the officer still been serving in the force, they would have been dismissed with immediate effect.”

Police misconduct hearings were traditionally held behind closed doors, with their outcomes only rarely reaching the public domain.

However, former Prime Minister Theresa May opened the system to the Press and public in 2014, when she was Home Secretary.

Mrs May also decided that independent legally qualified people should take charge of hearings.

However, the regulations do allow for the hearings to be held in private in certain circumstances, including those case which relate to national security or where criminal proceedings are still to take place or an ongoing investigation may be compromised.

In this case, LeicestershireLive asked why we would not be allowed to attend the hearing.

The force responded: “The independent Legally Qualified Chair, Delroy Henry, has considered the facts of the case and determined that the hearing should be held in private and that anonymity of the officer will be granted.

“This decision has been made due to concerns raised in relation to the officer involved and the potential impact if the hearing was held in public.

“It has been determined, in line with Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012, that the particular circumstances of the case outweigh the public interest in holding the hearing in public.”

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