Police officer sacked over sexual relationship with 'vulnerable woman'

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent

Published

A police officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after initiating a sexual relationship with a woman he knew was in a vulnerable state of mind.

A Police Ombudsman investigation found he had caused her "psychological distress."

The relationship began after he called to her home in February 2019, following a report about concerns for her safety.

The woman's details were already held in the police system as someone known to be vulnerable.

When questioned, the officer later claimed to have met her through a dating app, but this was contradicted by evidence obtained from his mobile phone.

It showed contact only began between the pair after he called at her home.

Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson said: "This officer was in a position of trust and authority and the evidence suggests his actions were deliberate, planned and caused psychological distress to a vulnerable woman.

"This type of exploitative behaviour has no place in policing and the decision demonstrates that such actions will not be tolerated within the Police Service of Northern Ireland."

The PSNI accepted a Police Ombudsman recommendation that the allegations against the officer should be heard at a misconduct hearing.

After considering the evidence, a panel ruled that the officer should be dismissed immediately for gross misconduct.