Pump Court Chambers

Colin Banham represented Police Constable at misconduct hearing

News 29th September 2016

Colin Banham represented a Police Constable at a misconduct hearing following an allegation that she sent a letter to Swansea City and County Council, containing a dishonest and false account, in order to contest a Fixed Penalty notice.

The officer was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice after dropping a cigarette down a drain in September 2014. Aletter, submitted in her name, claimed that the issuing officer had not followed the correct procedure, had not been wearing the correct uniform and that his demeanour was ‘intimidating, bullish and threatening’.

The officer accepted contributing to the letter but denied that she was responsible for all of its content. She conceded that it was sent both in her name and with her knowledge. On that basis she admitted breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour relating to discreditable conduct. It was submitted on her behalf that the breach amounted to misconduct only.

The Appropriate Authority claimed that she had deliberately lied in the letter in order to avoid paying the fine and was therefore in breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour amounting to Honesty and Integrity. The officer denied being dishonest. She claimed she did not deliberately attempt to mislead the local authority, arguing that any inaccuracies within the letter were down to an honest failure to correctly recall details of the incident due to personal problems that were affecting her at the time. An analogy was was made to the approach the Administrative Court took to medical evidence in the case of Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis v PAT (Naulls) [2013] EWHC 1684 (Admin).

The panel found the majority of the alleged breaches were not proven. They did not conclude that the officer was dishonest but thought that allowing the letter to be sent in her name amounted to discreditable conduct, as the officer had accepted. This was found to amount to misconduct only and, after mitigation was heard, the officer received a written warning.

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