The Essex Police detective who had sex in police car and 13 others who faced misconduct hearings

The aftermath of police misconduct incidents involving the likes of Wayne Couzens and David Carrick has led to a renewed focus on the actions of those trusted to keep UK residents safe. It is no different in Essex, where Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington has vowed to root out anyone breaching the standards he sets.

Over the past 12 months there have been several misconduct hearings involving officers who work for either Essex Police or the Metropolitan Police in the Essex area. The reasons for them facing misconduct panels, sometimes held behind closed doors, vary.

They include, however, a volunteer police officer using “inappropriate sexual language” with a nurse, one who lied about leaving work early for a social event, and someone who turned off their body-worn camera and lied about stopping a driver who tested positive for drugs. There were also instances of detectives who acted abhorrently towards women and girls – including one who cut up his ex-partner’s underwear and left them scattered on their bed.

Below is a round-up of police officers serving in Essex who have been involved in misconduct proceedings.

‘PC A’

An Essex Police officer has been dismissed without notice for breaching the standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty, integrity and discreditable conduct. That officer will remain unknown, however, as a misconduct hearing was held privately and details of their behaviour are unable to be made public.

The hearing into the Constable, referred to by Essex Police as ‘PC A’, concluded that the officer was not worthy of patrolling the county’s streets. It was a hearing held behind closed doors that was chaired by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.

The county’s highest-ranking police officer said the force always aims for “complete transparency” but was “unable to confirm any more”. He said: “We prioritise professional standards in order to ensure that our officers and staff know what is expected of them to provide the best service to people in Essex.

“We continue to aim for complete transparency with the public when it comes to communicating the results of these investigations, however at this stage, we are unable to confirm any more. This officer’s actions and behaviour do not reflect the majority of colleagues, who are proud to service our communities.”

DI Paul Dibell

A misconduct hearing heard that former Detective Inspector Dibell routinely had consensual sex with a woman in his Essex Police HQ office and an unmarked police car. He would have been sacked if he still worked for the force, the panel decided.

Paul Dibell, the brother of hero cop Ian who was shot dead when trying to tackle a gunman in Clacton in 2012, was found to have committed gross misconduct. The panel said Dibell “sought to blame” the victim in the case and “failed to show any remorse”.

Dibell, a former Metropolitan Police officer, previously worked in the Domestic Abuse Unit at Essex Police. He joined the force in Essex in 2000 and at one point was a temporary Detective Chief Inspector.

PC Andreas Averkiou

A two-day misconduct hearing heard how PC Averkiou would have been dismissed had he not already resigned from Essex Police after committing gross misconduct. The panel was told that Mr Averkiou was required to attend online training referred to as ‘Domestic Abuse Flex Training’ on August 17, 2022 but that Microsoft Teams data showed the officer, who was based in Clacton, had only logged onto the system between 10:55am and 1:46pm. He spent just under three hours at the training.

Instead of attending the training completely, ANPR systems registered Mr Averkiou’s personal vehicle as driving in the direction of Pure Gym in Colchester. Data from the gym logged that his membership accessed the gym at 12.23pm and exited at 1.05pm.

On August 27, Mr Averkiou was required to work from 10am to 6pm for further training but he “decided not to attend after learning that the training was cancelled”. On October 26, 2022, Mr Averkiou was listed for further training and required to complete modules on cybercrime, grooming and child sexual exploitation and vulnerability.

Data showed the modules were completed outside working hours between 5.32pm on October 26 and 7.36am on October 27. During the course, he contacted another officer via Snapchat and was asked what he had done that day. He replied: “Went gym”, “eating”, “chilling”, and “thought about some gaming but not yet”.

PC Cockrell

Former PC Cockrell was found to have committed gross misconduct after being convicted of drink driving. The former PC was stopped in her personal vehicle whilst off-duty in August 2023.

She provided a sample of breath which showed a measure well in excess of the drink-drive limit and subsequently convicted of the offence. An accelerated misconduct hearing chaired by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington was held on November 9, 2023, and found ex-PC Cockrell had breached standards in discreditable conduct.

PC Patrick Wilks

PC Wilks was dismissed without notice after being found to have committed gross misconduct. Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said at the time of his misconduct hearing: “Colleagues are expected to adhere to our Standards of Professional Behaviour at all times and conduct themselves in an appropriate way. Whether on or off duty, we must be fit for duty so that we can give the best possible service to the communities we serve and, who rightly expect us to be professional in everything we do.”

PC Gracie Taylor

A police officer who lied in order to leave work early to go to a social event would have been sacked had she not already resigned. PC Gracie Taylor was a trainee at the Essex Police College on February 7 when she left work early to attend a pre-arranged social engagement without authorisation.

She didn’t tell anyone she had left and when challenged about it a few days later, she lied to her trainers about her reason for leaving work. Former PC Taylor was found to have committed gross misconduct and it was ruled that she would have been dismissed if she had not already resigned.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “I expect the highest standards of professional behaviour from all officers and former PC Taylor fell well below these standards. She will not be able to pursue a career in policing as a result.”

PC Gavin Dyer

A police officer who admitted failing to properly investigate crimes and placed false or misleading updates on investigations was sacked but blamed a culture of bullying for his misconduct. Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said PC Gavin Dyer’s actions amounted to a “serious” case of gross misconduct, but added he would ‘look into’ claims of bullying within the force.

An accelerated misconduct hearing at Essex Police HQ heard on Thursday (December 14) that PC Gavin Dyer was repeatedly dishonest with his actions. The panel, chaired by Essex’s highest-ranking police officer, was told of three incidents in which PC Dyer had placed false or misleading updates on investigations.

These were between May 19, 2022, and October 2, 2022 and resulted in the logs being left “unable to be relied upon”. One incident involved a “vulnerable” person whom Dyer had been asked by his sergeant to check was a missing person which the disgraced officer failed to do.

Detective Constable Lewis Marshall

DC Marshall’s behaviour towards a woman was said to be so serious she felt compelled to change her locks. A panel concluded that he committed gross misconduct and would have been sacked had he not already resigned.

He was claimed to have let himself into the woman’s home, “cut up” her underwear and laid it on her bed, and taken items belonging to the woman. He faced other allegations that include sending an “abusive or offensive” text and accessing an account relating to the Alexa device that was in the home.

A misconduct panel was told on November 20 that Mr Marshall’s behaviour had been “oppressive, harassing, bullying, victimising and offensive”.

Marshall, who chose not to engage with the misconduct proceedings, was said to have sent “horrible and nasty” messages to Miss A shortly before her birthday. It was also said that DC Marshall would leave the loft hatch open “suggesting that he was up there” and that this “felt like it was mind games”.

Special Constable Thomas Simons

A volunteer police officer serving in Essex would have been sacked if he had not already resigned after he was found to have repeatedly used inappropriate sexual language around a mental health nurse. Now former special constable Thomas Simons was on duty and working alongside a female mental health nurse in July 2022 when he was alleged to have used “inappropriate sexual language” on a number of occasions.

A misconduct panel concluded that Simons had breached standards of behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity and discreditable conduct. It also found he had committed gross misconduct.

The panel said he would have been sacked if he had not already quit the force. He will be added to the police barred list.

PC Thomas Uden

PC Uden would have been sacked after he deliberately turned off his body-worn camera and failed to take action to prosecute a driver who tested positive for drugs. It was found that ex-Police Constable Thomas Uden had breached standards in honesty and integrity which amounted to gross misconduct.

Former PC Uden was found to have stopped a vehicle for failing to stop at a red light and tested the driver for drugs as part of his duties. The test produced a positive result, but the former Essex officer turned off his body-worn video and “failed to take the appropriate action to prosecute the driver”, Essex Police said.

PC Uden then made false entries in his paperwork and lied to his Sergeant about what happened. The behaviour was reported to Essex Police’s professional standards department and an investigation was launched.

Chief Constable Harrington said: “Former PC Uden’s actions in this case fell far below the standards we expect from every officer within Essex Police. Driving under the influence of drugs is a major factor in causing death and serious injury on the roads.

“Therefore, we take offences of driving under the influence extremely seriously. This former officer’s actions seriously undermined the work done across Essex to make our roads safer.

“Equally the public and colleagues in Essex Police rightly expect everyone in Essex Police to be honest and professional. Action like this undermines the essential trust of the public and the hard work of the overwhelming majority of people in Essex Police who work tirelessly every day to protect and serve the people of Essex.”

PC Farhan Ghadiali (Met Police)

PC Ghadiali was sacked without notice after being convicted of sexually assaulting a child. The Metropolitan Police officer was found guilty of sexual assault at Chelmsford Crown Court on March 24.

Scotland Yard said a misconduct hearing found PC Ghadiali, attached to the Central West Command Unit, had breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct. The Met said Ghadiali was convicted after an investigation by Essex Police.

According to the Met, the jury found that Ghadiali, whilst off duty, had sexually assaulted a child in September 2019 at a party held in Buckhurst Hill. He was jailed for 30 months.

DS Nicholas Warton

A former Essex Police detective who made sexualised comments and contact towards a colleague would have been sacked if they had not already quit the force. The outcome was determined following a misconduct hearing held by Essex Police on June 27.

The hearing heard that DS Nicholas Worton was accused of directing unwanted and unwarranted sexualised comments and contact towards a colleague. The incidents were said to have happened on “several occasions” during November 2021.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: “Our work to tackle inappropriate sexualised behaviour, so often directed towards women and girls in Essex, does not stop when it reaches our own front door. I expect the highest standards of professionalism and respect from all officers and staff within the force.

“Former DS Nicholas Worton’s behaviour was utterly unacceptable. His behaviour fell far below the standards the public of Essex expect and the overwhelming majority of my colleagues deliver day to day.”

PC Ben Burnell

PC Ben Burnell, who was based in the west of the county, was accused of filling in an application form and using false information as supporting evidence. He was also accused of then lying about it when the details were queried by his line manager

The panel, led by Independently Legally Qualified Chair Andrew Hearn, found the allegations against PC Burnell were proven. They decided he should be dismissed without notice.

Special Constable Steven Windrim

A volunteer police officer was found to be drink-driving while off duty. Special Constable Steven Windrim was arrested after being found to be intoxicated while driving on the A120.

Windrim was stopped on the road near Marks Tey on June 21 last year. He was not on duty at the time and was suspended from Essex Police following his arrest.

He appeared at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on January 10 this year where he admitted drink driving and was banned from driving for a year and eight months. Windrim did not attend the misconduct hearing, choosing instead to resign days before it happened.

All allegations of misconduct were found proven and it was ruled Windrim would have been sacked from the force had he not already resigned.

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