Legal fight over British Transport Police officer who kept job after flashing warrant card at woman for 'sexual purpose'

·2-min read

A police force is fighting the decision to allow an officer to keep his job after he flashed his warrant card at a woman in an attempt to "abuse his position for a sexual purpose".

PC Imran Aftab received a final written warning over the "appalling" incident in April 2020 in which he also made racist comments and breached COVID rules, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

It was reported that the officer pestered a lone female jogger for her phone number and told her she was "too curvy to be Asian".

The force is now appealing the decision of an independent panel which allowed PC Aftab to keep his job despite being found to have committed "gross misconduct".

It comes as all police forces in England and Wales are reviewing allegations of violence against women and girls involving serving officers and staff in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder.

Police chiefs have also been tasked with checking incidents of indecent exposure in a bid to restore public trust in the service after Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens was jailed for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive.

PC Aftab, who is based in Hammersmith, west London, attended a misconduct hearing in May over three allegations.

It was claimed that he used his police ID in an attempt to "abuse his position for a sexual purpose" and that he made "inappropriate comments which were considered to be racist".

The officer was also accused of engaging with the complainant "without a reasonable excuse" and therefore "breaching government guidelines on social distancing".

Investigations carried out by BTP and the Independent Office of Police Conduct concluded that PC Aftab had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

An independent panel ruled that the case was proven and issued a final written warning.

BTP said it disagreed with the panel's decision to allow PC Aftab to keep his job and has launched an appeal.

Watch: Sarah Everard murder: North Yorkshire police boss resigns after saying women need to be 'streetwise'

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A BTP spokeswoman told Sky News: "We totally agree this was an appalling incident and as is the case in misconduct hearings, the decision not to dismiss PC Aftab was made by an independent panel, led by a legally qualified chair.

"We don't agree with their decision, and as such took legal advice immediately after the hearing in May before instigating a judicial review to appeal this. This is currently ongoing and we await the outcome."

Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, which campaigns for women's safety, told Sky News: "We're very disturbed by this case.

"Officers need to be held to a higher standard.

"The police are the people tasked with keeping us safe, the people we go to when we need to report a crime or disclosing personal information."

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