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Two officers dismissed for failing to record or investigate serious offence

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Two police officers have been found to have breached standards of professional behaviour amounting to gross misconduct after a hearing led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair.

PC James Stone and PC Daniel Sweet were disciplined after concerns were raised by colleagues.

A panel, led by an independent Legally Qualified Chair, decided the sanction for both officers should be dismissal without notice, and they will both be added to a national barred list to prevent them working in policing or other law enforcement agencies again.

The hearing heard the pair had responded to a call about a woman screaming in a Bristol street in November 2022.

The woman, who was not named in the proceedings, was at the time an inpatient at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). She was not appropriately dressed for the weather having left the ward and was clearly vulnerable.

The officers found her and being concerned for her welfare took her back to the BRI. On route she said she had been assaulted by a named man. PC Sweet also observed she had a nosebleed and she told him the man had strangled her.

Despite these allegations, neither PC recorded a crime either in their pocket notebooks or on police systems and neither recorded their body-worn video footage of their interaction with the woman as being evidential.

When the woman subsequently formally reported the offences, an investigation was launched by a detective constable who asked the attending PCs for their statements.

PC Stone took 76 days to complete his statement, while PC Sweet took 98 days, despite several emails from the officer in the case, who also copied in supervisors and senior officers.

Avon and Somerset Police said their behaviour breached the standards of honesty and integrity; orders and instructions; duties and responsibilities, and discreditable conduct.

The woman did not respond to attempts to contact her to see if she wished to make a formal complaint or provide additional information.

Detective Superintendent Mark Edgington, head of Professional Standards, said: “These officers failed to take action to record and investigate a serious offence against a vulnerable woman. They have then failed to respond in a timely and professional way to requests from colleagues who were investigating the offence of robbery.

“Honesty, integrity and diligence in the exercise of their duties are fundamental requirements for any police officer. The failure of these officers to fulfil what many people would see as the basics of policing – recording and investigating a crime – are exacerbated by their failure to support their colleague’s investigation. There is no place for them in policing.”

Although a man was arrested on suspicion of robbery and a file submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, no charges were brought due to evidential difficulties.

The full outcome will be added to misconduct hearings section of our website when it is available. You can find the section by clicking this link