Officer dismissed over ‘inappropriate relationship’ with vulnerable woman

A Kent Police officer has been dismissed after “inappropriately engaging” with a vulnerable woman who told him someone had attempted to rape her.

Oct 15, 2020
By Paul Jacques

Kent Police said Detective Sergeant Jonathan Pearce, 45, was investigated following allegations that he had inappropriate contact with a woman, ‘Ms A’, in September and October 2019, and failed to take appropriate action when she reported an attempted rape by a third party in October 2019.

At a gross misconduct hearing arranged by the force following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), it was alleged Det Sgt Pearce breached the standards of professional behaviour by:

  • Knowing or believing Ms A to be a vulnerable person and a victim of crime, he attempted to enter into a sexual or emotional relationship with her, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy;
  • Knowing Ms A to have been the victim of an alleged attempted rape, he failed to record the allegation she made or to refer her into the appropriate safeguarding processes, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities; and
  • Having been provided with evidence by Ms A regarding an alleged attempted rape against her, he failed to secure such evidence, in breach of the standards of professional behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities

Det Sgt Pearce admitted misconduct in respect of each allegation, but denied his actions constituted gross misconduct.

The IOPC said its investigation – started in October 2019 and completed in May 2020 – found evidence of a case to answer for gross misconduct for Det Sgt Pearce and Kent Police agreed with its findings.

The hearing, which took place on October 12-14 with an independent legally qualified chair, found gross misconduct proven for Det Sgt Pearce.

He was dismissed from the force with immediate effect and will be placed on the police barred list.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “Det Sgt Pearce breached police professional standards of behaviour by inappropriately engaging with a vulnerable woman and failing to take appropriate action or secure evidence when she disclosed someone had attempted to rape her. The woman trusted Det Sgt Pearce with this information and he abused this trust.

“Kent Police’s response to our investigation and the panel’s decision shows that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”

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