Kent

Kent Police sergeants 'turned team into boys' club'

Kent Police headquarters in Maidstone Image copyright Google
Image caption Sgt Howard and Sgt Grainger face misconduct charges at Kent Police's Maidstone HQ

Two police sergeants have been accused of making inappropriate comments about female trainees and turning their team into a "boys' club".

Jamie Howard and Nicholas Grainger persistently messaged female PCs and made them feel "uncomfortable", a Kent Police misconduct hearing was told.

Sgt Howard and Sgt Grainger deny acting in a sexually inappropriate, intimidating and abusive way and abusing their position of power.

The hearing will last five days.

Five female constables gave evidence against Sgt Howard and Sgt Grainger on the first day of the hearing at the force headquarters in Maidstone.

PC Naomi Guckenheim said she was made to feel uncomfortable by the pair watching her from the bar at a Christmas party in a hotel on 14 December 2017.

'Unwanted messages'

PC Guckenheim and Pc Chloe Ttsaris said in separate statements that officers must be "seen to be doing what the sergeants want" or they would be given the worst jobs.

They also said they felt pressure to respond to "innocuous" but unwanted WhatsApp, Facebook and text messages from Sgt Grainger because of his position.

PC Ttsaris said she blocked Sgt Grainger on WhatsApp last year because she did not want to talk with him after she began a relationship with another officer.

The hearing was told by PC Samantha Luck that she heard Sgt Grainger speaking with another sergeant about whether prospective female trainees were "pretty" based on their Facebook profiles.

Another PC, Jane Lowe, said the sergeants' watch was a "boys' club" and she moved teams in 2017 because she felt uncomfortable in it.

She said: "I didn't feel part of that (club) and I didn't feel part of the team."

The charges amount to gross misconduct if found true, and a decision will be made on Friday.

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