A male police officer accused of abusing his position to harass a vulnerable female domestic abuse victim likes to play the ‘knight in shining armour’, a misconduct panel heard.
The police constable, who cannot be named and is accused of ’emotionally manipulating’ the young woman, annoyed colleagues with his over-friendly behaviour, one fellow officer said.
The hearing was told the Portsmouth-based officer, who allegedly hugged and kissed the ‘high-risk’ domestic violence victim, was ‘intimate’ with a female police officer previously.
Officer A’s female colleague told the hearing the pair were ‘briefly intimate’ and his over-friendly behaviour annoyed other members of staff.
She said: ‘I think he likes to be the knight in shining armour which caused issues with his colleagues.’
Officer A, of Hampshire Constabulary, met the abuse victim through work and allegedly started ‘coercing and controlling’ her and ‘sexualised’ their relationship.
The woman, called ‘Female A’, said at first she thought Officer A was being helpful when her partner was charged with domestic abuse crimes but said he soon became ‘weird’.
He is said to have bombarded her with text messages, invited her to his home and for a cocktail date, called her ‘hun’ and sent wink-face emojis with kisses as he pursued a relationship with her.
The middle-aged serving officer currently at the centre of a misconduct hearing has been granted lifelong anonymity and can only be referred to as ‘Officer A’.
The police constable, who has been granted lifelong anonymity, worked at Hampshire Constabulary when he met the domestic violence victim before allegedly started coercing and controlling her and ‘sexualised’ their relationship
Media have challenged the chair of the hearing’s decision to ban publication of Officer A’s identity, claiming it would be in the public interest for him to be named.
Officer A, who denies the offences, sobbed at the misconduct hear and had to be given tissues as he admitted he ‘shouldn’t’ have sent her a selfie while at a work Christmas party.
‘I should not have sent it but I did and I was happy when I sent it’, he said. He added: ‘I sent those messages at my work do, I was really happy in myself.
‘I was thinking of other cases I had dealt with, I had some good outcomes for some victims and I was feeling good and happy with where I was.’
He claimed he repeatedly contacted the woman as she would ‘shut down’ if he ‘brushed her off’. She told the hearing she felt ‘uncomfortable’ with his contact.
Officer A also admitted he didn’t report a meeting outside his home in Portsmouth, Hants, with Female A as he was worried he’d be taken off her case.
During the meeting Officer A accepted he touched her shoulder but denied kissing her.
He said: ‘I did not record the conversation. For this report, I would have been taken off the case of Female A.
‘I thought I could still manage her and if she were to go with anyone else on my team, she would be starting all over again.’
‘Officer A’ was previously ‘briefly intimate’ with a female colleague, who told the misconduct hearing that his over-friendly behaviour annoyed his colleagues
Female A told the hearing at Hampshire Constabulary HQ in Eastleigh, Hants, she felt scared of male police officers following Officer A’s behaviour in 2019.
She said: ‘It’s made me paranoid, especially around male police officers.
‘If I need help now I would hesitate to call the police as they are just normal people and they do bad things.
‘I also worry about calling police now… What he did wasn’t right and I felt like other police officers might be like that.
‘I didn’t see the flirtiness before he invited me around his house because I would not have gone if I had.
‘He had been really helpful and supportive every day before then. I just felt overwhelmed.
‘My whole life was falling apart and I didn’t notice what he was doing because I was being naïve… I nearly died a few weeks before.
‘At first I thought this guy really wanted to help me but in the end what he was doing was not helpful at all.
‘The way he was acting, I think he had a romantic interest. You don’t invite someone out for dinner like that, that’s a date. It wasn’t a decent thing to do.’
Today, media continued to make representations to the hearing by appealing against an additional ruling which prevents media explaining why the ban on the officer’s identity has been put in place.
The week-long hearing continues.