Dorset policeman guilty of gross misconduct after relationship with abuse victim

·3-min read
Dorset Police headquarters at Winfrith
Dorset Police headquarters at Winfrith

A POLICE officer has resigned after forming an inappropriate relationship with a domestic abuse victim - and admitted sending confidential information to people outside of the force.

On Thursday, June 9 this year a public accelerated misconduct hearing was held at Dorset Police Headquarters in Winfrith before Chief Constable Scott Chilton to consider allegations that former Police Constable Robert Hopper breached the standards of professional behaviour of discreditable conduct, confidentiality, authority, respect and courtesy, orders and instructions, and honesty and integrity.

Earlier this year the force’s Counter Corruption Unit received information that former PC Hopper had formed an inappropriate relationship with a domestic abuse victim he had met while responding to the incident and investigating the case.

On January 11 this year, former PC Hopper attended a voluntary interview and admitted forming the unprofessional relationship with the woman, that was in breach of Dorset Police’s policies and procedures.

He also admitted to knowingly sending two emails that contained material relating to policing matters to someone outside of the organisation.

The force referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which took over the case as an independent investigation.

Former PC Hopper subsequently resigned from the Force.

At the hearing Chief Constable Scott Chilton found that former PC Hopper had breached the standards of professional behaviour and was guilty of gross misconduct. Had he not previously resigned, he would have been dismissed from the Force with immediate effect. He will be placed on the national policing barred list preventing him from working within policing in the future.

Following the hearing, deputy chief constable Sam de Reya said: “Former PC Hopper abused his position of trust to form an inappropriate and unprofessional relationship with a victim of domestic abuse whom he had met through this duty as a police officer.

"This is unacceptable and goes against the oath of a police officer to protect and serve the public and the Code of Ethics, which every member of the service should abide by.

“Our officers are duty bound to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity at all times. It is quite right that he has been found guilty of gross misconduct as there is no place in our police service for officers who behave in this way.

“The public expect and deserve to have trust and confidence in their police force. The outcome of this case sends out a clear message to our officers, staff and to the public that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and robust investigations will be carried out into anyone who is suspected of misconduct.

“If you have any concerns in respect of any member of the organisation failing to have upheld professional standards of behaviour, we would encourage you to please report your concerns to Dorset Police so they can be thoroughly investigated.”

Anyone can report any concerns to Dorset Police by calling 101 or emailing countercorruptionunit.dorset@dorset.pnn.police.uk. Corruption can also be reported online at www.dorset.police.uk/contact/report-police-corruption/.

Alternatively members of the public can contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – details of which can be found via their website www.policeconduct.gov.uk or anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or freephone 0800 555 111.

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