Former BTP officer guilty of gross misconduct

A former British Transport Police (BTP) officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct, following a public hearing held in his absence.

May 13, 2022
By Tony Thompson

Police Constable James Burke was due to answer five allegations that he breached the standards of professional behaviour, namely honesty and integrity, equality and diversity, discreditable conduct, authority, respect and courtesy, and duties and responsibilities.

Four of these allegations were proven, namely honesty and integrity, discreditable conduct, and authority respect and courtesy. These were that PC Burke:

  • In April 2020, knowingly made false statements about being permitted to drive police response vehicles;
  • In December 2020, made false, misleading or inaccurate statements to a chief inspector in a reflective practice meeting;
  • In April 2021 behaved inappropriately while supervising a man detained under the Mental Health Act in hospital in Huddersfield, playing loud music on his phone; and
  • In March 2021, used captor spray unnecessarily on a detained man at Leeds station.

The independent panel found that PC Burke’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and he would have been dismissed without notice from the force. He had resigned in advance of the hearing, which was held in his absence.

BTP’s head of Professional Standards, Detective Superintendent Pete Fulton, said: “Former PC Burke demonstrated an incredibly concerning pattern of repeated wrongdoing and blatant dishonesty, both of which are simply not compatable with being a police officer.

“Even if an officer chooses to resign before a gross misconduct hearing, we will still pursue the proceedings against them in order to protect public confidence and should the allegations be proven, ensure they’re not able to work as a police officer again. I whole-heartedly support the decision of the independent panel in this case.”

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