'Tired and stressed' Cleveland Police officer branded domestic violence victim derogatory term

A Cleveland Police officer who called a domestic violence victim a derogatory term and falsified information has been sacked following a misconduct hearing.

PC 2794 Neal Murray joined the Metropolitan Police in March 2016 before moving to Cleveland Police in November 2019 in the response unit. While working on Teesside he breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour for police on several occasions and was subject to a gross misconduct hearing.

The hearing took place in Thornaby earlier this month and heard that on January 20, 2021, whilst on duty, the officer attended a domestic violence incident involving complainant Ms A.

PC Murray produced and updated a statement from Ms A on his electronic pocket notebook indicating that she did not want to pursue the matter, representing the statement as having been approved/signed by Ms A. However, this was false.

The officer accepted that he created a false statement in his pocket notebook confirming that Ms A did not wish to provide a statement and falsified information.

The next day on January 21, 2021, he referred to her in the derogatory term. The misconduct panel noted that the allegation was admitted in PC Murray’s Regulation 31 response and in his verbal evidence. In his prepared statement he stated: ”I can’t believe I signed it, she’s a f******* m***.”

The panel ruled the officer's actions brought discredit to the police service and amounted in gross misconduct. In personal mitigation, the officer showed remorse and apologised for his behaviour stating it was out of character.

He made reference to family problems and addressed the panel regarding the impact of stress, being overworked and being sleep deprived. However, the chair said the only appropriate sanction was dismissal.

The misconduct report reads: "The panel came to the conclusion that an appropriate and proportionate sanction having found gross misconduct is dismissal. The officer's behaviour did cause harm to public confidence in the profession of policing and there was operational dishonesty. The panel was satisfied that the misconduct was so serious that only an outcome that the officer is dismissed without notice was justified.

"The panel concluded that this was the least sanction it would impose for the protection of the public and to uphold public confidence in policing." The officer was dismissed without notice and banned from ever re-joining the police service.