Dorset detective dismissed for ‘unwanted physical contact’ with female colleague
A Dorset Police detective constable who groped and kissed a female colleague without her consent has been dismissed after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
A three-day disciplinary hearing at force headquarters in Winfrith heard that between May and August 2015, Det Con Nick Gravenor used inappropriate sexualised language towards the woman and on one occasion touched her inappropriately.
The hearing was told that Det Con Gravenor, who is married and had been with the force almost 20 years, had won the trust of his victim over a period of several months, telling her he found her attractive, complimenting her on having a “nice bum” and making comments about what he enjoyed sexually.
On August 14, 2015, Det Con Gravenor went to her home address and she was subjected to unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature. The victim had been especially vulnerable that day following the recent end of a relationship and a bereavement.
The hearing was told the victim was left feeling “weak, frightened and was scared she was going to be raped” and that the contact was “unconsented, unwanted”.
The woman confided in friends and family on the day of the incident – both on the phone and in Facebook messages – but did not report it for almost three years. She said she had been afraid she would not be believed but decided to report the officer after hearing a colleague praising Det Con Gravenor.
The woman disclosed the allegations in July 2018 and an investigation was launched by Dorset Police’s Professional Standards Department.
Det Con Gravenor was also alleged to have breached the Standard of Professional Behaviour for Confidentiality, relating to a claim that he had used a police records system to carry out a check on the woman without a legitimate policing purpose on July 20, 2015. However, the panel found that this was not proved.
Det Con Gravenor was dismissed without notice.
Following the misconduct hearing, Deputy Chief Constable David Lewis said: “We expect all of our officers to adhere to the highest standards of professional behaviour towards colleagues, as well as members of the public.
“Our communities quite rightly expect these standards to be consistently upheld, and maintaining these standards is at the heart of maintaining the trust of the public, which underpins the successful policing of our county.
“Following the allegations of the breach of these standards by Det Con Gravenor, our Professional Standards Department carried out a thorough investigation and the matter was referred to an independently-chaired panel to determine whether the breaches were proven and whether they amounted to gross misconduct.
“This case demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take action against the tiny minority of officers who fail to maintain the high standards that we set and fall below what is expected of them in terms of professional behaviour.
“It also shows that we take any reports from members of Dorset Police about inappropriate behaviour by colleagues extremely seriously and appropriate action will be taken.”