Northumbria Police Special Constable 'forgot' to mention cocaine involvement in teen's arrest, hearing hears

A special constable forgot to mention the involvement of a class A drug in a teenager's arrest, a misconduct hearing has heard.

PC Lewis Mahon, 30, and Special Constable Kieran Parkin-Ormston, 22, of Northumbria Police, were called to an incident in which a 17-year-old boy had reportedly 'been drinking, taking cocaine and had been trying to cut his throat'.

The young male, known as Mr A, said he had cocaine but the officers did not find any in his pocket. When they found the drug on the ground, after searching him a second time, PC Mahon seized it.

The pair arrested the teenager on suspicion of having a bladed article but not on suspicion of possessing a class A drug.

PC Mahon completed three statements which referenced Mr A's cocaine use but did not mention that he had seized the drug. SC Parkin-Ormston's single statement made no reference to cocaine at all.

Inspector Michelle Jahangiri, who was their sergeant at the time, asked both officers why they did not mention the seizure in their reports.

The hearing, sitting at Houghton-le-Spring police station, heard how PC Mahon allegedly told Special Constable Parkin-Ormston 'I didn't think she would notice or realise' - a comment which he denies.

Both officers are accused of:

  • Failing to record the seizure of drugs on the arrest/handover package.

  • Failing to give a truthful explanation at first as to where the drugs were after being asked by supervision to account for the whereabouts of the drugs seized during the arrest.

When asked, during his evidence on Tuesday, why he didn't arrest the Mr A on suspicion of cocaine, SC Parkin-Ormston replied: "At the time I didn't suspect that those drugs that were found in the street were his."

Oliver Thorne, for the appropriate authority, suggested it was, at the very least, highly likely that the cocaine had come from the youth.

SC Parkin-Ormston said he didn't know at the time, adding: "It certainly looks that way now in hindsight."

The special officer told the hearing how Inspector Jahangiri questioned him about why the seizure was not in his report. He said: "I relayed back to her 'I didn't seize them'. Her response to that was something along the lines of 'fair enough' and it was left at that."

SC Parkin-Ormston said he was extremely tired and concerned about another incident, which had occurred that night. He said he would have written his statement with what was at the forefront of his his mind - that being someone with a knife.

When Mr Thorne suggested to him "You have forgotten that cocaine played any part whatsoever?", he replied: "I believe so yes."

Sergeant Andrew Hyde previously told the hearing, how he had two phone conversations with SC Parkin-Ormston about the incident. He said, during the second conversation, SC Parkin-Ormston told him that PC Mahon had said 'I didn't think she would notice or realise'.

When asked if he had told Sergeant Hyde that, SC Parkin-Ormston said: "I can't remember. I can't remember much of the conversation with Sergeant Hyde."

The hearing heard how SC Parkin-Ormston had worked a 1-11pm shift as a Cleveland Police staff member before starting a night shift as a special constable for Northumbria Police. He said he expected to work until around 3am but did not finish until around 7am.

During the incident, in December 2021, PC Mahon pointed a taser at Mr A, who reportedly had a knife, until he got on the ground and the pair handcuffed him. He then told them he had "hoyed" the blade away.

The hearing was told how the youth also told them ''I've got cocaine in this pocket'. When no cocaine was found, during a search, he said he must have chucked the drug away as well.

The teenager was taken to the police vehicle and searched again, with PC Mahon saying he only found his phone and a bank card.

The panel heard how SC Parkin-Ormston then spotted a wrap of cocaine near where they were stood and said "Just gonna pick this cocaine up".

PC Mahon responded: "Oh, you've got it? I mean, that's our arrest isn't it" and picked up the drug.

During his evidence on Monday, PC Mahon said he had made a "premature comment" while trying to disclose which options they had. He said: "Thinking about it further I thought we didn't have the grounds."

PC Mahon had a conversation with Inspector Jahangiri, who was also at the scene. During her evidence, Inspector Jahangiri said she initially told PC Mahon to arrest the youth on suspicion of having a bladed article.

She said that when PC Mahon told her he had also found a small quantity of cocaine, she told him to also arrest the male on suspicion of possession of class A drugs.

However PC Mahon said he was not instructed, or did not hear the instruction, to arrest him for possession of cocaine. He said: "After that I said I found a packet of white powder. She replied 'Excellent' and I walked away.'

PC Mahon told the hearing he didn't mention the seized drug in his reports as he had "simply forgot" about it. He said he was "exhausted" due to the long night shift and "embarrassed" as it wasn't his usually high standard of work.

He told the hearing: "I simply forgot. That much had gone on since I picked them up. I just forgot I had picked them up. It wasn't at the forefront of my mind at all, I wasn't thinking about it."

When questioned by his sergeant as to where the cocaine was, he said he had lost it. He said he checked the police car but wasn't able to find it. Another officer found the packet immediately in the centre console.

Mr Thorne told the panel that it was a "sad and concerning" case as they were "clearly promising and well-liked police officers".

He said they carried out a professional and effective piece of policing when dealing with the youth on the night in question and they say what happened next was "a serious of mistakes born out of exhaustion."

Mr Thorne said cocaine was involved all the way through the incident from the initial call to the officers leaving him at the hospital.

Mr Thorne told the panel: "They both immediately come to that remarkable conclusion that the drugs found could not be drugs from Mr A. To have both reached the same judgement is inherently improbable.

"PC Mahon seized the drug and they both forgot that had happened."

Luke Ponte, who is representing, both officers told the panel: "They are both model young officers who are a credit to their force."

He said they had not caused any significant harm beyond harm to the reputation of the police.

Mr Ponte said: "Although there was a risk of harm, it was not half as bad as the sergeant feared. The drugs had not been found by the public, they had not been found by the individual who may well of had them in the first place."

The hearing heard how SC Parkin-Ormston is now employed by Virgin Atlantic but wishes to remain a special constable. He said his aim of becoming a police constable had now been "diminished".

PC Mahon currently remains with the force but is on "restricted duties".

Both officers are alleged to have breached the professional standards in relation to honesty and integrity and duties and responsibilities.

PC Mahon denies breaching honesty and integrity and admits breaching duties and responsibilities to an extent. Special Constable Parkin-Ormston denies breaching both of the standards.

The hearing is due to sit again on Thursday.