A Devon and Cornwall Police officer has been dismissed for trying to pursue an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met on duty.
The actions of PC Christopher Caley amounted to gross misconduct, a hearing arranged by Devon and Cornwall Police found.
Police were called to attend an incident where a female complainant was concerned about the presence of her ex-partner at her place of work.
The officer met the woman and in the course of dealing with her received among other details, her telephone number. Later that day and over the next two months or so he sent her a number of flirtatious messages from his personal mobile phone. He also drove by her place of work in a police vehicle on a number of occasions.
He intended to pursue a personal relationship with her. She politely resisted his advances. PC Caley’s attempts persisted for a two-month period.
The misconduct proceedings took place following an IOPC independent investigation into allegations reported in 2019. PC Caley was immediately suspended from service.
He faced allegations that in 2019 he breached the codes of professional standards for police officers in respect of duties and responsibilities, authority respect and courtesy, confidentiality, orders and instructions and by reason of discreditable conduct.
Devon and Cornwall Police has released a statement about its findings.
The panel agreed that his actions amounted to gross misconduct. He had abused the trust placed in a police officer by a complainant who was vulnerable by reason of her concerns and circumstances which gave rise to the initial call for help. He had misused the information provided to him in the course of his duties and used it for his own personal gain. He has pursued an inappropriate relationship. His actions had and were likely to damage the public’s confidence in the police.
The panel accepted the officer’s admissions to each allegation and agreed that the conduct amounted to gross misconduct and PC Caley was dismissed without notice.
The officer’s details will also be submitted to the College of Policing Barred List, preventing him from working within policing.
T/Deputy Chief Constable Jim Nye said: “Such conduct fell well below the standards expected from officers and staff.
“This dismissal was necessary to uphold the high standards we expect in Devon and Cornwall Police. This also sends out a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and action will be taken if officers or staff fall below our standards.”
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The Independent Office for Police Conduct has also released a statement.
It says: “The IOPC investigation began in May 2019 following a referral from the police force. On conclusion in February this year Devon and Cornwall Police agreed with our view that the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct. On 17 November at a hearing convened by the force, overseen by an independent, legally-qualified Chair, the allegations were found proven and breached a range of professional standards.”
IOPC regional director, Catrin Evans, said: “Despite the woman indicating that she was not interested in any relationship with the officer, he continued to behave in an inappropriate manner by sending her messages of a personal nature. He abused his position of trust as a police officer, and the police disciplinary panel has imposed an outcome of dismissal without notice.”