Public Misconduct Hearings
Under their formal Misconduct Regulations, Police Officers accused of gross misconduct have to appear before a misconduct panel which is chaired by a legally Qualified Chair appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner and made up of a Police Officer of at least the rank of Superintendent plus an independent lay member, also appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The hearings are held in public and in Gwent this is usually achieved by the hearing taking place in a Police building and the proceedings being streamed by way of a live link to a room in Police Headquarters where the press and the public can attend.
Sometimes, if there are representations made by any of the interested parties which can include the Officer(s), witnesses or victims, complainants , the Force itself or the Independent Police Complaints Commission if they have been involved, the Chair of the panel may decide to exclude the public and media from some or all of the proceedings. Representations can be made for personal reasons or for operational reasons because of the sensitivity of the case or the circumstances and because policing tactics or operations may be compromised. The starting point is always a hearing in public. The details of the hearing must be published by the Force at least five working days before it is due to take place, even if it is to be held in private. The Force must also publish the outcome for at least 28 consecutive days after the hearing has finished. It does not have to identify the Officer(s).
In Gwent, members of the public and press wishing to attend are asked to notify the Force of their desire to do so, in order that enough space can be allocated and any necessary security measures can be put in place.
Our Public Misconduct Hearings
Police Constable BREESE will attend a Misconduct Hearing to answer allegations that his conduct amounts to a Breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in relation to Authority, Respect & Courtesy, Duties and Responsibilities and Discreditable Conduct. The specific allegations being:
- On Tuesday 5 December 2017, you were on duty at Ebbw Vale Police Station when Female A attended by pre-arranged appointment to make a witness statement about her ex-partner breaching a Restraining Order.
- Prior to speaking with Female A, you failed to properly inform yourself of the existing information regarding Female A’s allegations, or of her earlier interactions with other officers on 2 December 2017. You did not review, or properly review, the STORM Log and / or the NICHE Occurrence Enquiry Log which were available to you.
- During the course of your discussions with Female A, you spoke to her in a dismissive and unprofessional manner. You shouted at and over her, and did not listen properly to what she was saying. You told Female A that she was, or was “sounding like”, “a fantasist”.
- When speaking with Female A you made assumptions about what she was complaining about and failed to listen to her properly. You failed to make sufficient and proper enquiries with Female A at the appropriate stage to establish the details of the allegations she was making.
- You incorrectly informed Female A that her one of her allegations did not constitute a breach of the Restraining Order, despite her providing you with evidence to the contrary.
- After taking a statement from Female A, you failed to take positive action in relation to her allegation, resulting in delay to the investigation. You did not make any Police Sergeant aware of the alleged breach of the Restraining Order or take any other steps to ensure that prompt and appropriate action would be taken in relation to the breach.
Chair of the panel – Susan Davies, Legally Qualified Chair
Panel member – Superintendent McLain
Independent Panel member appointed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner – Christine Edmondson
Others in attendance:
Presenting Officer on behalf of Gwent Police – Alice Meredith – 5 Essex Court
Professional Standards Department – DC Ennis
Following a Misconduct Hearing held at Abergavenny Police Station on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th March 2018, Police Sergeant Lee Stephens has been dismissed without notice.
The full outcome of the hearing, led by an independent chair, is attached.
Pam Kelly the Deputy Chief Constable of Gwent Police stated "The standard of behaviour demonstrated by this officer was totally unacceptable. Gwent Police will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will always take a robust stance. The public deserve the best level of service possible and at a time when police resources are stretched this behaviour is all the more unacceptable to the public and to all at Gwent Police".
On 9th March 2018 PC Stephen Davies was found guilty of breaching the following Standards of Professional Behaviour: