Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police officer dismissed for gross misconduct

The HQ of Avon And Somerset Police and Avon Fire and Rescue in Portishead.
Image caption The panel heard Mr Pierson wanted "to close the case and move on to something else".

A police officer has been sacked after he was found guilty of gross misconduct for failing to investigate the theft of a wheelchair from a disabled woman.

A misconduct hearing was told PC Daniel Pierson of Avon and Somerset Constabulary "put words in the victim's mouth" so he could close the case.

The theft, from a block of flats in Taunton, was reported last October.

A panel concluded he viewed it as low priority which distracted him from investigating drug gangs.

Mr Pierson, who had worked as a police officer for 12 years, was found guilty of operational dishonesty.

The panel found his conduct brought discredit upon the police, and he was dismissed without notice.

'Harsh punishment'

The misconduct panel was told Mr Pierson believed there were no lines of inquiry after the woman reported the theft, and he could not investigate. 

He told the victim she could not take the matter any further, when it was established a suspect had taken the wheelchair by mistake, believing it belonged to someone else.

Mr Pierson wrote in the official police logs the woman was happy for the case to be closed, but she later told another officer she thought the theft was still being investigated.

The discrepancy was spotted by Mr Pierson's manager, which led to the misconduct hearing.

Panel chairman Derek Marshall told the hearing last week Mr Pierson was "anxious to close the case and move on to something else". 

He said: "We accept this will be regarded as a very harsh punishment by him and his family, and we are acutely aware of the suffering this will cause to them personally, but we feel we have no alternative if we are to maintain the integrity and reputation of the profession of police officer."

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