Disciplinary hearing finds officer breached rules on honesty, integrity and professional standards, but keeps identity secret
3 MARCH 2016 | BY PRESS ASSOCIATION FOR THE GUARDIAN
A police officer has been sacked for meeting prostitutes for sex in hotels while on duty, but his identity has been kept secret.
The independent legal chairwoman of the disciplinary hearing for the Merseyside officer ruled it was “necessary and proportionate” for the officer to retain his anonymity, which outweighed the public interest in naming him.“Officer A” had breached honesty, integrity and professional standards regulations, the hearing in Wavertree was told on Thursday.
It was found he had arranged to meet a prostitute in December 2014 and then falsified a national intelligence report in an attempt to cover it up. In February 2015 he was found to have engaged in sexual acts with a prostitute while again on duty.
In a pre-hearing order, the chairwoman, barrister Louise Brandon, anonymised the officer following written representations seeking “a departure from the fundamental principle of open justice”.
She ruled: “I have concluded that it is necessary and proportionate to anonymise the name of the officer and that this necessity outweighs the public interest in naming the officer in the course of the hearing and the notice.”
The Liverpool Echo reported that the officer had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and that his identity was concealed because of concerns about his welfare.
In March 2015, the home secretary, Theresa May, announced that police disciplinary hearings would be held in public and led by legally qualified chairs. She said the reforms would overhaul the police complaints and disciplinary system to ensure it was “accountable, transparent and easy for the public to understand”.
Merseyside police said the officer was dismissed after “a thorough and extensive investigation” by the force’s anti-corruption unit.
Deputy chief constable Andy Cooke said: “He was on duty and was there to protect our communities, not to satisfy his own sexual needs. He was in a position of trust and he abused that trust, we expect all of our officers and staff to uphold the highest standards of integrity and honesty and his behaviour fell well short of those standards.
“The majority of people who work for Merseyside police do a really good job day in, day out, and joined the force to serve our communities with compassion and integrity. Sadly, the actions of this officer have the propensity to seriously undermine the good work being carried out by officers across the force.
“The public quite rightly have high expectations of police officers and Merseyside police is committed to meeting those expectations by demanding high standards of professionalism, honesty and integrity.”