Officer who used police computer to pursue ‘inappropriate relationship’ dismissed

A Staffordshire Police officer has been dismissed after a gross misconduct hearing was told he had misused a force computer to “persistently” pursue an inappropriate relationship with a woman he met while on duty.

Dec 4, 2020
By Paul Jacques

Detective Constable Nicholas Pointon, who worked in the regional organised crime unit, was investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following allegations that he had accessed the police computer to find the address of a woman who had been involved in a minor road collision in March 2019. He then turned up at her home unannounced.

The 49-year-old officer “pursued an inappropriate relationship with her over the following six months, after which the data from 1,000 messages they exchanged was deleted from his work phone and other electronic devices”, said the IOPC.

It added: “A pocket notebook entry relating to him accessing force computer systems, when he had no policing purpose to do so, was found to have been altered after it had been signed off by a supervising officer.”

Staffordshire Police said Det Con Pointon also “used a police vehicle for a non-policing purpose to visit the member of the public, and took an unauthorised absence from duty in order to visit the member of public”.

“The force agreed with our conclusion that Det Con Pointon had a case to answer for gross misconduct for breaching professional standards of authority, respect and courtesy; confidentiality, discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities; and of honesty and integrity,” said the IOPC.

After a disciplinary hearing organised by Staffordshire Police, which concluded on Thursday (December 3), an independently chaired panel found six of the seven allegations against him proven and dismissed him from the force without notice.

He will now be placed on a list of former officers who are barred from working for the police service in the future.

Deputy Chief Constable Emma Barnett said: “Det Con Pointon clearly and persistently set out to pursue a member of the public who he came into contact during the course of his duties, abusing his position to try to form a relationship. The public expects police officers to maintain exemplary standards of contact, integrity and professionalism and Det Con Pointon fell far short of this and undermined trust and confidence in policing so it is right that he is dismissed from the service.”

The IOPC carried out a seven-month investigation following a referral from Staffordshire Police , which was completed in May this year. During the investigation it collated and analysed extensive telecommunications data, interviewed Det Con Pointon and also gathered and reviewed statements from police and independent witnesses.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “The officer abused his authority and misused police computer systems to pursue a relationship with the woman, then attempted to cover his tracks. The panel found Det Con Pointon’s conduct to be predatory and said his attempt to divert blame over the false pocket book entry by attacking the integrity of an innocent colleague, was an aggravating feature of the case.

“His behaviour has no place in policing and the force’s response to our investigation, along with the panel’s decision, shows that such actions will not be tolerated.”

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