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Gross misconduct proven against former PC

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A former police officer has been barred from serving again following a misconduct hearing on Wednesday 12 May.

Gross misconduct was found to be proven against former PC James Hayward at the hearing held at Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters in Portishead.

His discreditable conduct was found to have breached the standards set of police officers after last week being convicted of driving a private vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit on Friday 12 March.

Officers who suspected he had got behind the wheel while over the limit reported the incident and former PC Hayward was subsequently stopped by a roads policing officer near Taunton.

He appeared in court last week and was sentenced after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Former PC Hayward joined Avon and Somerset as a trainee two months before the incident. He did not attend this week’s hearing but submitted a letter saying he accepted his actions amounted to gross misconduct.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh acknowledged there were personal circumstances that impacted on former PC Hayward at the time but ruled the officer would have been dismissed, if the latter had not resigned ahead of the hearing.

He said he did not have confidence in former PC Hayward’s decision making and the public rightly ‘expect those given the responsibility of enforcing the law to abide by it’.

Chief Constable Marsh said: “I have read the letter written by PC Hayward in which he recognises his disgraceful conduct and reflects with regret and shame upon the decisions he made and the actions he took. It is to his credit that he has taken responsibility for his actions.

“The offence of drink-driving is a serious one. Road users were put in danger by PC Hayward driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

“The seriousness is aggravated by the fact that a colleague had previously taken PC Hayward’s car keys from him to stop him from driving.

“PC Hayward had time for reflection, yet still decided to drive and recognised when he was stopped that he knew he was over the limit.”