Friday brief: sex, lies and grooming
More police misconduct in Northants, some news in brief, Westminster watch and activities for the weekend
A gross misconduct hearing into allegations a Northamptonshire police officer had repeatedly lied to his superiors has been heard in the same week that another police constable from the force who had sex while on duty has been sentenced in court.
PC Peter Holanka, who is alleged to have falsely accused a man resisting arrest of dislocating his jaw, plus repeatedly lying to his senior officers, was up before a gross misconduct hearing at the Wootton Hall headquarters this week. The judgement will be made public shortly.
His misconduct hearing comes in the same week that former PC Gareth Cox, who quit the force at the end of last month, was given an eight week suspended sentence after admitting six data breach offences.
Cox, 49, had also had sex with two women while on duty on a number of occasions.
Read the BBC report of his court sentencing here.
On September 8 chief constable Nick Adderley chaired a gross misconduct hearing concerning four allegations made against Cox dating from August 2018 to last June and found him guilty in breaching professional standards in all instances.
In the written determination of the misconduct hearing published on the same day as Cox was sentenced, the chief constable said:
“This was not simply poor judgement or a one off chance or occasion but was repeated acts over a considerable period; moreover, the former officer, knowing that his conduct was wrong, made many attempts to cover up his tracks and the offences for which he was responsible.
“I find the actions of former PC Cox absolutely disgusting and appalling. At anytime his actions would amount to gross misconduct and would outrage the public but given the present climate, following cases involving officers in the Metropolis and other forces, this sustained activity of misconduct and dishonesty does nothing other than erode the gallant efforts of the many thousands of officers and staff, who are working tirelessly, to restore public confidence and faith in the police.
“Engaging in sexual activity, whilst on duty, revealing sensitive and private information and documentation, and making attempts to cover up these acts is without question gross misconduct of the highest order and has no place in UK policing.”
Adderley said Cox would have been sacked if he had not already resigned and is making a request he forfeits his police pension.
On the same day of Cox’s misconduct hearing, another male staff support worker Alex Foster had admitted before Lincoln Crown Court child sex offences including attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming between July 26 and August 11 this year.
Read the report from The Lincolnite here.
Foster, 42, had been investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who then referred it to the Crown Prosecution Service. Foster will be sentenced next month.
We contacted Northamptonshire Police and Deputy Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, who leads on professional standards said:
“Like other Forces across the UK, we are conscious of the understandable and mounting public concern that has arisen, particularly in the past year or so, around misconduct cases involving police officers and staff.
“As a Force, we are fully transparent around the publication of both those outcomes and, furthermore, cases which reach the criminal justice process. Our Chief Constable has made no secret of his desire to root out those whose conduct falls short of what is expected by officers and staff and, as such, our Professional Standards Department remains ever focused on investigating complaints as and when they arise. This is right and proper.
“In line with other Forces, changes to the 2020 Police Conduct Regulations have led to a national increase in complaints and Northamptonshire Police is no exception here. Work continues both within PSD and the wider workforce to tackle errant behaviour and educate officers and staff around the high standards of integrity we expect.
“We will continue on this journey and where officers or staff are found guilty of gross misconduct we will strive relentlessly to remove them from public service at the earliest opportunity.”
These cases come following three misconduct hearings of male officers in July. Former police sergeant Dale Iniff, PC Jordan Logue and PC John Edmunds were all subject to disciplinary hearings.
As NN Journal exclusively revealed between April and July this year 16 cases had already been referred up to the IOPC from Northamptonshire police.
News in brief
Raunds care home Darsdale Home has been rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors who made a visit to the nursing home last month found that some of the 24 residents had been deprived of their liberty without legal approval, important safety improvements had not been made and that medicines were not always administered safely.
The regulator was also critical of the lack of any areas to stimulate memory for those with dementia.
The report referenced a number of recent safeguarding investigations by the local authority’s safeguarding team after a number of residents developed pressure ulcers.
The home was downgraded from requiring improvement. Read the full report here.
General Secretary of the National Education Union Kevin Courtney will be speaking at the re-launch of the Corby Trades Union Congress next month. The event is being held at the Ennerdale Centre on October 5 at 7pm and will have a focus on the cost of living crisis and worker’s wages.
Daventry MP and new Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has warned that a Northern Ireland Assembly election could be on the cards before Christmas.
The assembly has been unable to function since February when the DUP withdrew its first minister over the party’s objections to the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
Heaton-Harris has said that getting Stormont back up and running is a priority for him in his new role. He warned this week that a pre-Christmas election is ‘not an idle threat’ if the matter is not resolved.
We sent a story about Northampton North MP and the new attorney general to our paying members this week. Subscribe to our full package to read this story plus our full archive.
🎉There’s a community day organised by Off The Streets at the Pleasure Park in Kettering on Saturday from 12pm.
⭐️Mixing comedy and astronomy The Night Sky Show comes to the Royal and Derngate tonight. There’s some tickets remaining here https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/night-sky-show/
🛍 An artisan market is being held at Rockingham Castle tomorrow from 3pm. Entry is £6.50, free for children.
🎤The Macaroons are playing at the Midland Band Club in Hallwood Road, Kettering tomorrow from 7.30pm as part of Kettstock.
🎵The inaugural Town Takeover music event is happening at venues across Northampton tomorrow from 8am to 5pm. More details here.
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