PC who went to lockdown party then crashed while drink-driving admits gross misconduct

·News Reporter
·3-min read
Tasia Stephens, 24, went to a party in lockdown then crashed as she tried to drink-drive home. (Wales News)
Tasia Stephens, 24, went to a party in lockdown then crashed as she tried to drink-drive home. (Wales News)

A young police officer who broke lockdown rules to attend a house party before crashing into a home while drink-driving accepts gross misconduct, a hearing has been told.

PC Tasia Stephens crashed into a house as she made her way home early on 26 April, and was found to be double the limit when breathalysed by fellow officers.

At the time, the whole of the UK was under coronavirus restrictions and people in Wales were banned from meeting those they didn't live with.

The 24-year-old, with South Wales Police, was later convicted of drink-driving at a magistrates' court.

PC Stephens now faces the sack following the conviction. It could see her barred from serving in the police again.

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A misconduct hearing was told on Monday that PC Stephens accepts that the allegations amount to gross misconduct.

She had visited a party at her aunt's home in Treorchy, South Wales, despite her having an “expectation to enforce the law and take action against members of the public who break them”, case presenter Barney Branston said.

The hearing was told she started drinking at the party after being told that historic sex allegations had been made against a family member.

Branston said PC Stephens then showed "no thought to other road users" as she took the "extraordinary decision to drive after she knew she’d been drinking".

She drove about 500 metres from her aunt's and her vehicle was recognised by police colleagues who stopped her for a short conversation.

Former youth athlete Stephens faces a charge of gross misconduct. (Wales News)
Former youth athlete Tasia Stephens faces a charge of gross misconduct. (Wales News)

They did not suspect she was over the limit and she carried on for 1.6 miles before crashing.

Members of the public heard the crash in Pentre and police who attended found PC Stephens "extremely upset, saying she wanted to kill herself" and referenced the allegation against the family member.

She then failed the breath test and was taken to a police station, Branston said.

After pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, PC Stephens was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and banned from driving for 15 months at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court.

“She chose to ignore the restrictions and undermined public confidence," Branston said.

PC Stephens told the hearing she accepted attending the house party, driving when unfit, and being convicted in court.

She also accepted that each of the allegations amounts to discreditable conduct, and taken together they amount to gross misconduct.

The charge against her states: "It is alleged that breaking Welsh government lockdown restrictions, driving when unfit, and being convicted of such an offence breaches the standards of professional behaviour in relation to discreditable conduct and if proven the breaches whether taken individually or cumulatively amount to gross misconduct that is so serious as to justify dismissal."

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