Officer who purchased, took and offered to supply illegal drugs dismissed

An officer who bought and offered to supply illegal drugs to “third parties” has been dismissed without notice following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

May 25, 2023
By Paul Jacques

It was alleged that between 2016 and October 2018 Detective Inspector Warren Arter, who was attached to the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) South East Command, purchased, offered to supply and took controlled drugs, including cocaine and MDMA, on multiple occasions.

Evidence showed him arranging to buy drugs, discussing having taken them, and offering them to others via text messages.

A misconduct panel also heard evidence that he had attended gatherings where drugs were present and were openly being taken, and that he had failed to take action or report a man who he knew was providing drugs to a woman in exchange for sex.

The MPS said the offences took place while the officer was off duty.

Det Insp Arter was dismissed at the end of a three-day misconduct hearing, after the panel found his conduct amounted to gross misconduct. He has been placed on the police barred list.

The officer had initially been arrested by the MPS in December 2016 for alleged misconduct in public office, relating to allegations he had abused his position for a sexual purpose (APSP), and his mobile phone and iPad were seized.

In April 2017, the MPS referred this matter to the IOPC and it began an independent investigation into the allegations.

“In 2018 we opened a further investigation after analysis of Det Insp Arter’s mobile phone and iPad downloads provided evidence, in the form of text message exchanges and photographs, of him possessing and offering to supply drugs to third parties. Both devices were also forensically tested and found to bear traces of cocaine,” said the IOPC.

Det Insp Arter was arrested in October 2018, and a search of his home was conducted, where drugs paraphernalia including metal straws and mini-scales were seized and found to bear traces of cocaine along with a grip seal bag that had traces of MDMA.

“The officer was taken into custody, where he tested positive for cocaine, and was interviewed under caution on suspicion of offering to supply controlled drugs to others, and corrupt or improper use of police powers for failing to utilise these powers when he became aware of other people possessing drugs. He declined to answer any questions,” said the IOPC.

“In June 2020, we completed our investigation into this matter and determined that Det Insp Arter had a case to answer for gross misconduct for breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour. We also sent a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which decided not to authorise charges.”

The panel determined that gross misconduct was proven against Det Insp Arter, who was found to have breached the police standards of professional behaviour for discreditable conduct; authority, respect and courtesy; duties and responsibilities; honesty and integrity.

IOPC Regional Director Mel Palmer said: “These are very serious findings against a high-ranking officer, who a misconduct panel has found purchased and consumed illegal drugs and offered them to third parties.

“There can be no doubt that conduct such as this, though it relates to the actions of one officer, risks undermining public confidence in policing.

“There can be no place in policing for officers who do not respect and adhere to the laws they are expected to uphold. It is right this officer has been placed on the College of Policing barred list, meaning he cannot work in policing.”

Chief Superintendent Trevor Lawry, commander for the South East Command said: “Police officers are rightly held to a higher standard and Det Insp Arter is not representative of that level of professionalism.

“Being a warranted officer is a privilege, one that Det Insp Arter has abused. Police officers are duty bound to report wrong doing and protect the vulnerable – he has failed to do either.

“It is right that he has been held to account for his actions and will now no longer be a police officer.”

The IOPC said its investigation into the APSP allegations was concluded in 2020, when it determined Det Insp Arter had a disciplinary case to answer for gross misconduct.

“Following the conclusion of this hearing, decisions will be made in due course regarding the outstanding disciplinary matters,” it added.

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